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'Omics Scientists Reel in Prostate Cancer Foundation Funds

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Prostate Cancer Foundation yesterday named the winners of its Young Investigators Awards for 2008, and several of the 19 total winners will be conducting genomics and proteomics studies.
The program will provide each awardee with $75,000 for three years, for a total of $225,000, which will be matched by the recipients’ institutions. The investigators generally are under age 35, already have achieved junior faculty positions, and are “committing their lives to the field of prostate cancer.”
This year’s funding from PCF totals $4.3 million.
This year’s crop of PFC-supported young scientists using ‘omics and molecular biology tools to address the disease includes:
  • Andrew Armstrong of Duke University, who is seeking biomarkers for predicting metastasis that could allow some patients to be diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage in their disease. 
  • Gerhardt Attard of London's Institute for Cancer Research will study circulating tumor cells in hopes of finding a biomarker profile that predicts which patients might be sensitive to the drug abiraterone and those who may become resistant; 
  • Tarek Bismar of the University of Calgary will study a fusion of two pieces of chromosomes that is present in 50 percent of prostate cancers, and a protein called PTEN that suppresses tumor development, to find out how they factor into prostate cancer.  
  • Adam Feldman of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center will aim to discover differentially expressed protein biomarkers in urine, which PCF called “a non-invasive, practical biological fluid for biomarker discovery,” and he will try to correlate biomarker findings with diagnosis, progress, and stage of prostate cancer. 
  • Sarah Holt of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will try to study genetic alterations responsible for estrogen sensitivity and metabolism in the prostate of nearly 1,500 prostate cancer patients and around 1,350 control patients to identify those with increased risk for primary prostate cancer.  
  • Lorelei Mucci of Brigham and Women’s Hospital at the Harvard School of Public Health plans to study specific chromosome fusions in order to understand how they affect hormonal balance, energy balance, weight, and prostate cancer survival.  
  • And Mark Pomerantz of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will seek to understand the molecular basis of increased prostate cancer risk in individuals who have certain genomic alterations that have been shown as indicators of higher prostate cancer rates.

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