1.5 Million Dollars for Prostate Cancer Awareness and
Dr. Pete Nelson of the Human Biology Division at Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center is principal investigator of a $1.5 million project funded by
the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and its partner, Movember. This global
men’s health charity raises funds and awareness of men’s cancers by getting men, or “Mo Bros,” to sprout
moustaches during the month of November.
‘My own attempt at growing a
moustache has been a real conversation starter’
“Movember has done a remarkable job in
raising awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer,” Nelson said. “If you see someone sprouting a
new moustache, it may not be a fashion statement, but rather someone participating in Movember. My own attempt
at growing a moustache has been a real conversation starter.”
Nelson and fellow “Mo Bros” at the
University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University and Baylor College of Medicine will use their Movember-PCF
Challenge Award to accelerate scientific discovery and the development of new treatments for advanced prostate
Identifying new drivers of advanced
prostate cancer in pursuit of a cure
“This project is designed to anticipate
and address a problem that we believe will be very important in the future,” Nelson said. Currently, the
androgen receptor is the major molecular engine within prostate cancer that drives its growth. Testosterone is
the fuel for this engine. Major advances in the field are quite likely to extinguish androgen receptor
signaling, which may cure a substantial number of patients.
“However, we know that cancers evolve
quickly, and many will develop treatment resistance. This project is designed to identify new drivers of
prostate cancer that bypass androgen signaling,” Nelson said.
Nelson and his colleagues aim to
generate the basic, foundational knowledge needed to develop newer, more potent therapeutics for advanced
prostate cancer that no longer respond to androgen-blocking treatment.
PCF rewards beyond ‘out-of-the-box’
The Movember-PCF Challenge Awards are
designed to link researchers with diverse intellectual capabilities into productive, synergistic teams of
investigators in strategic areas of prostate cancer research. The awards are given to projects not yet funded by
government or philanthropic programs.
Nelson’s grant is one of six such
awards funded this year. The six teams were selected in a global competition of more than 60 applicants from 45
research institutions in seven countries.
PCF funds projects that reflect not
just “out-of-the-box” thinking but ideas for which no established “boxes” exist. To date, Movember has donated
more than $18 million to PCF in support of prostate cancer research.
“We are very grateful to Movember for
supporting this research, and we have put together a local Movember team,
the MoDawgs, to get the
word out,” Nelson said. The MoDawgs include Nelson and colleagues from Fred Hutch, University of Washington,
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and VA Puget Sound.
This article was based in part on a joint PCF/Movember news
release, and was released on Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center , a world-renowned nonprofit
research organization working to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and related