SU2C Scientific Research Teams

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SU2C-PCF Dream Team: Precision Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Team Leaders

  • Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D.
    Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D.
    Team Leader
    Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology and Professor of Urology at the University of Michigan; Director, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology
    + Full Bio
  • Charles L. Sawyers, M.D.
    Charles L. Sawyers, M.D.
    Co-Leader
    Chair, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    + Full Bio

“Utilizing this Dream Team grant, we will be able to bring together great scientists and clinicians from around the world to join in the fight against metastatic prostate cancer. We hope this unique model of research will lead to patient benefit in the short term.”
— Arul M. Chinnaiyan M.D., Ph.D.

About this Team's Research

Prostate cancer, like other types of cancer, is not a homogeneous disease. For example, up to 50 percent of treatment resistant metastatic prostate cancer (CRPC) patients have a genetic aberration called a “gene fusion” that involves two genes including ETS genes. Another 50 percent of patients may have a “deletion” or loss of an entire gene called PTEN. This diversity of prostate cancer suggests that treatment decisions will require a personalized or precision approach — matching treatment to specific characteristics of a tumor. The premise for this proposal is that information about the genetic makeup of an individual’s CRPC may guide the doctor to choose a “personalized” treatment for that patient.

Chinnaiyan, Sawyers and the members of their Dream Team will focus on patients with metastatic prostate cancer. First, the team will implement a multi-institutional study that systematically evaluates patients enrolling in four clinical trials for novel drugs for CRPC at five leading clinical centers.

They will identify predictors of why some patients respond to these therapies, as well as predictors of resistance to these therapies. The study will capture a molecular snapshot of a patient’s cancer and incorporate this information into the clinical trials. It will also enable a framework that will facilitate progress toward a personalized approach for evaluating new drugs and treating patients with prostate cancer.

The delivery of clinically valuable information based on the analyses of each patient’s tumor will improve the lives of patients with prostate cancer. While state-of-the-art technology in DNA sequencing has dramatically accelerated biomedical research, translation into a clinical setting has numerous barriers that limit the potential benefits. This multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional effort establishes a framework for translating research into precision prostate cancer medicine for patient care.

The “Precision Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer” Dream Team consists of a multi-disciplinary group of experts that includes laboratory and clinical researchers, young investigators and senior scientists who have not worked together in the past, as well as patient advocates.

The project is estimated to start mid-2012 with the first clinical trials scheduled to open in early 2013.

Click here to see a full list of Dream Team members

Watch a short video in which the Prostate Dream Team leaders Chinnaiyan and Sawyers talk about the science behind their project: