Researchers Awarded $3 Million to Study Therapy Resistance in Prostate Cancer
Madison, Wisconsin — Learning how prostate cancers become resistant to therapy and using that information to treat men with the disease is the subject of a grant awarded to University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) researchers from the U.S. Department of Defense.
The three-year, $3 million award will help researchers more precisely isolate prostate cancer cells from patients using new imaging technology, then test those samples in a comprehensive analyses that has never been performed to identify signatures of treatment response and resistance.
"Surgery and radiation are curative for approximately two-thirds of men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, but that means one-third of men develop recurrent cancer," said Dr. Joshua Lang, assistant professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "We want to add other therapies to surgery and radiation that can cure more men of their cancer, but the challenge is identifying what those therapies are and who will benefit."
In a clinical trial for men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, Lang and his colleagues will use new PET scan technology to identify all possible sites of disease. These men are then treated with a combination of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy prior to surgery to try and shrink or kill the cancer. Another PET scan is performed prior to surgery to understand who benefited the most from these different treatments.
In order to assess how well these treatments worked, the prostate cancer samples are then processed and tested with new microfluidic technologies that extract the cancerous cells and their surrounding cells, the so-called tumor microenvironment, that may dictate how well these treatments work.
"This is one of the first proposed studies integrating molecular information, including genomic changes within tumor cells, with an understanding of what is happening in the surrounding stromal and immune cells," Lang said. "I think that the great complexity of prostate cancers arises from the interplay between these different cells types and this study will give us a better understanding of how they interact."
The researchers expect this new information will help develop new tests and treatments for men with any stage of prostate cancer.
Lang's collaborators on the grant (DOD PC150536) include UWCCC members Dr. David Jarrard, professor of urology; Dr. David Beebe, professor of biomedical engineering; Dr. Steve Cho, associate professor of radiology; Dr. David Page, professor of biostatistics and medical informatics; Dr. Wei Huang, associate professor of pathology; Dr. Shane Wells, assistant professor of radiology; and Dr. Alejandro Roldan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
Date Published: 05/12/2016