Written by Nicole Fawcett
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers Maha Hussain, M.D., and Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., received two of six grant awards from the Movember-Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge.
The projects chosen represent a range of focus and expertise that will tackle the most challenging problems that prostate cancer patients face in the clinic.
Funds for the awards were made possible through a generous $7.7 million contribution from PCF's partner, Movember, the global men's health charity that gets men to grow and women to support the moustache for thirty days each November to raise funds and awareness for cancers affecting men.
Hussain, along with U-M co-investigator Felix Feng, M.D., received $1 million. Her project will seek to determine if men with hormone-sensitive, metastatic prostate cancer who are given a novel combination of drugs can delay the onset of resistance to androgen deprivation therapy, and thus delay progression to end-stage disease.
Chinnaiyan, with co-investigators Feng, Shaomeng Wang, Ph.D., and Irfan Asangani, Ph.D., will use a $1.5 million award to develop a new method of targeting the androgen receptor signaling pathway. They will develop an entirely new drug that prevents the genes the androgen receptor protein regulates from being turned "on" and making their protein products which act to drive cancer progression. The researchers believe that such a "downstream" approach may prove more durable and that it will be less likely for men to develop resistance to their novel drug because most mechanisms of resistance are upstream of the drug target.