The annual PCF “Creativity Awards”

Each year the Prostate Cancer Foundation gives out its “Creativity Awards” — intended to support research into new ideas with the potential to significantly affect the diagnosis and  treatment of prostate cancer.

Last week PCF announced 12 new awards for 2010. The full details are available on the PCF web site. However, we felt that the research being supported by a few of the awards were of particular interest because they held potential to affect the management of prostate cancer in the relatively short term:

  • Dr. Gustavo Ayala and colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, are planning to carry out a first-in-man clinical trial of Botox (botulinum neurotoxin type A) to explore whether whether the effects of Botox on neurogenesis (the development of new nerve cells) can activate anti-tumor activity and can be used to identify the tumor-promoting mechanism underlying the known interactions between nerve cells and prostate cancer cells.
  • Dr. Brendan Curti and associates at Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland, OR, are also planning a first-in-man clinical trial — this time of a monoclonal antibody called anti-OX40 in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy in men with advanced prostate cancer. Anti-OX40 seems to be able to stimulate the anti-tumor effects of patients’ own T cells, which are a specific type of white blood cell that is important to the immune system.
  • Dr. Matt Smith and a team at Harvard Medcial School plan on a small clinical trial to study the effect of metformin in the treatment of men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). We already know that men with type 2 diabetes who are treated with metformin are at lower risk than the average for a diagnosis of prostate cancer and that men with type 2 diabetes who also have prostate cancer and who receive metformin seem to have better than average prostate cancer-specific outcomes over time.
  • Finally, Dr. Nora Navone and her colleagues at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX are planning early clinical trials of a targeted drug called TKI258. TKI258 is an inhibitor of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) — a growth factor that is known to be involved in driving the progression and metastasis of prostate cancer.

The eight other awards are no less important, but these four projects stood out to us as ones that would be of most immediate interest to the majority of the patient community.

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