The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research with the goal of discovering better treatments leading to a cure specifically for recurrent prostate cancer. I believe that the PCF is the only organization that has as its focus the treatment of and finding a curing for advanced, recurrent prostate cancer.

Since its inception in 1993, the PCF has raised more than $350 million and provided funding for more than 1,400 research projects at nearly 150 institutions worldwide. Yesterday, the foundation committed more than $19 million in new research funding for scientific investigations focused on discovering new treatments for recurrent prostate cancer.

Eight programs representing 18 leading research institutions and 36 researchers were selected as part of the foundation’s 2008 Challenge Awards. The funded programs will receive the first of three annual payments, ranging between $500,000 and $1.0 million per program, this week.

“We are very pleased to announce this year’s recipients and believe their proposed projects will deliver critical contributions to the rapidly growing base of scientific knowledge on prostate cancer,” commented Dr. Howard Soule, executive vice president of discovery and translation for the PCF. “These awards are aimed at accelerating breakthrough discoveries that can potentially end death and suffering from prostate cancer. That is our single focus and goal.”

Designed to increase the impact of PCF funding, the PCF Challenge Awards invest in larger, multi-year projects with high potential for solving problems associated with advanced prostate cancer and that may lead to better treatments for this important men’s health problem. The 2008 awards, selected in eight categories of scientific investigation, are:

1. Progression Biomarkers
2. ETS Gene Fusions
3. Intracrine Androgens and Androgen Receptor Signaling
4. Predictive Preclinical Models
5. Nutrition, Metabolism and Patient Quality of Life
6. Epigenetics
7. Immunotherapy
8. Prostate Cancer Stem Cells

The affiliated hospitals included in the 2008 awards are Massachusetts General, Harvard and MIT, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, University of Washington, University of California San Diego, UCLA.

A complete list of the award recipients along with a brief description of their research can be seen at: 2008 Awards. There is a brief description of each of the projects. What I found particularly striking about the awards was the potential for extremely high impact of each project on the prostate cancer community. This research selected to be funded does not include esoteric, bottom of the food chain topics, but each project holds significant direct promise for us.

Thank you to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and their many generous donors.

Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW