What is the DoD PCRP? And why does it matter?

DoD PCRP stands for the Congressionally mandated Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program — and it is the only US government-sponsored initiative that dedicates funding specifically to prostate cancer research. (Similar DoD cancer programs provide dedicated funding for research into breast, lung, colon, and ovarian cancers.)

Since 1997, when the DoD PCRP was initiated, about $875 million has been appropriated by Congress and used to fund over 2,000 prostate cancer research studies around the world. For the past several years, this program has been funded at $80 million per year, although Prostate Cancer International and other members of America’s Prostate Cancer Organizations have been  advocating strongly for a significant increase (to more like $125 million each year.)

For 2010 the DoD PCRP has been encouraging research related to two primary objectives:

  • The development of effective treatments for advanced prostate cancer
  • The development of tests that can distinguish between indolent and potentially lethal forms of prostate cancer

These research priorities match up with two of the core advocacy initiatives of Americas Prostate Cancer Organizations.

A core priority for the DoD PCRP is to bring patients, researchers, and advocates together to discuss research priorities, reach consensus on objectives, and then ensure that the available funds are best used to move research forward in a timely and clinically relevant manner. The following listing provides you with a brief summary of some of the more important, ongoing research initiatives being funded through the DoD PCRP:

  • A new IMPACT award was developed in 2010 to fund research specifically intended to reduce or eliminate the problems associated with unnecessary over-treatment of men with low-risk and/or indolent prostate cancer.
  • Since 2005, the DoD PCRP has provided major funding for the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC) — a collaborative initiative involving prostate cancer clinical research teams at 13 different National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Centers. In the past 4 years, PCCTC has
    • Carried out Phase I and Phase II studies on 30 potential new agents
    • Enrolled > 2,000 patients into multi-center clinical trials of these agents
    • Helped to move five new therapies into Phase III clinical trials
  • The Prostate Cancer Project (started in 2002 as the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer project) is an initiative that is seeking answers to why prostate cancer appears to be so much more prevalent in black as opposed to white men.
  • The Prostate Cancer Pathology Resource Network Award was established to help in the development of a prostate cancer biorepository consortium for the collection, processing, annotation, storage, and distribution of high-quality human prostate cancer biospecimens through a collaborative network across multiple institutions.

DoD PCRP also puts major effort into communicating about its efforts across the survivor, patient, and research communities. You can:

At the very least, The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink encourages you, every year, to ask your Congressmen and Congresswomen to increase the annual funding for this important and prostate cancer-specific research funding initiative.

One Response

  1. Having participated on two CDMRP PCRP panels, one regarding cell biology, the other physical imaging, I can attest to the importance of this program to finance research to one day determine the answer to not only the eradication of prostate cancer, but more so the prevention of its development. Participation is extremely educational for us patients and the inter-acting with, and observation of the intelligence of, these research scientists, is extremely encouraging. Having been invited to and attending the first gathering in 2007 of several hundred prostate cancer research scientists, physicians involved in prostate cancer research as well as treatment, and prostate cancer advocates who have served as “Consumer Reviewers” on annual panels, I look forward to the second such gathering that will be held in Orlando next March.

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