December 6, 2022
By: Nicole Fawcett
The University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center researchers received one of the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s four inaugural Class of 2022 TACTICAL (Therapy Acceleration To Intercept Cancer Lethality) Award. This $30 million program will support cross-disciplinary pioneering research toward the goal of developing 21st Century therapies for the most life-threatening form of prostate cancer.
Principal investigator Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, will lead a $4 million project that will employ a suite of cutting-edge drug development techniques to develop an effective inhibitor of MYC, a major driver of about 70% of all cancers, including prostate cancer. These agents will be rapidly translated into clinical trial testing and have the potential to benefit a broad population of patients, including all clinical stages of prostate cancer and many types of cancer beyond prostate cancer.
Chinnaiyan is the director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology at U-M. The grant’s co-principal investigator is Sarki Abdulkadir, MD, PhD, from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. Additional investigators from U-M are Shaomeng Wang, PhD; Ganesh Palapattu, MD; Joshi Alumkal, MD; Zachery Reichert, MD, PhD; Ulka Vaishampayan, MD; Xiaoju (George) Wang, PhD; Jean Tien, PhD; Yuanyuan Qiao, PhD; Jeanne Stuckey, PhD; Alex Tsodikov, PhD; and Jeremy Taylor, PhD. Rogel trainees Abhijit Parolia, PhD, and Lanbo Xiao, PhD, will also serve on the grant.
PCF TACTICAL Awards are intended to support large-scale, multi-institutional team research projects addressing metastatic, lethal prostate cancer. The TACTICAL Campaign is PCF’s largest effort to date to develop novel therapies that target the molecular mechanisms driving lethal prostate cancer. PCF TACTICAL Awards provide up to $10 million in total funding over a three-year period.
“We are making tremendous progress in developing new therapies for prostate cancer that prolong life and improve the quality of life, but still an estimated 375,000 men will die of the disease this year,” says Charles J. Ryan, MD, PCF president, and CEO. “Recent research advances are revealing the mechanisms driving resistance to these therapies in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) or metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. We must now develop therapies that target these mechanisms.”
“PCF congratulates the investigators receiving the inaugural TACTICAL Awards on their research which we believe has the strongest potential to further reduce death and suffering from prostate cancer and potentially other cancers, says Howard R. Soule, PhD, PCF executive vice president, and chief science officer.