Science Market Update

$10M Prostate Cancer Research Grant to Fund Scientific Dream Team Led by Michigan

Posted by Jaimee Saliba on Fri, Apr 06, 2012

There's been a lot of news coming out of Chicago this week from the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Two announcements concerning prostate cancer research are especially worth broadcasting. An Ann Arbor pathologist, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, will be leading a "dream team" of specialists from 5 of the top cancer research institutes in the world in a $10M, 3-year research project titled “Precision Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer.” The funding comes from AACR partner, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). Heading up the team with Dr. Chinnaiyan is Dr. Charles L. Sawyers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Dr. Chinnaiyan is a clinical pathologist and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, professor of pathology and urology at the University of Michigan, and an American Cancer Society research professor. The Chinnaiyan laboratory studies functional genomic, proteomic, metabolomic and bioinformatic approaches to cancer research towards understanding tumor biology, as well as to discover clinical biomarkers. The focus of the SU2C project is on treatment-resistant (castration-resistant) metastatic prostate tumors. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death among men in the United States.

[The Dream Team project, courtsy of SU2C]

The team will take a 2-part approach to the research project.  First, they will sequence the genomes of 500 patients in active treatment at 5 institutions in either the US or UK (Dana Farber, Royal Marsden, Sloan-Kettering, U-Michigan, Fred Hutch). Then, armed with that genomic information, researchers will take what they know about these genomes and start combination studies with the new androgen drugs and other inhibitors.  The strong hope behind the project is that personalized, targeted drug therapies may be moved up much earlier in treatment. Finally, the project will develop a paradigm of analyzing tumor specimens from individual patients and understanding the types of drugs that are appropriate based on the genomic specificity of the disease.

There was also exciting prostate cancer news from AACR that involved the success of a novel therapeutic delivery system, namely one using targeted nanoparticles to direct a concentrated dosage of a chemotherapy drug to the tumor without flooding the rest of the patient's body with debilitating chemicals. The nanomedicine vehicle was developed by the pharmaceutical company BIND Biosciences (Cambridge), and the Phase I clinical trials were carried out by the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.  Results were recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and were presented at the Chicago conference that ended yesterday.


Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will bring together life scientists and equipment suppliers in an informal professional forum for networking and information-sharing on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan on July 11, 2012. This will be our 12th annual Ann Arbor BioResearch Product Faire event, popular with hungry scientists and product vendors alike. For more information on exhibiting, click the button below:

michigan research

Tags: University of Michigan, Midwest, Bioresearch, cancer research, nanotechnology, genome research, genomic medicine, 2012, Ann Arbor, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Funding, Research Funding, Conference, MI, science event, scientific conference, science current event, scientific events, UMich, Cancer Center, science research funding

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