UCI receives major grant to develop 'gene signature' for prostate cancer prognosis

December 13, 2005

A UC Irvine pathologist who studies cancer cells has received a five-year, $9.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a genetic method for predicting the outcome of prostate cancer at the time of diagnosis. It is one of the 10 largest research grants in UCI history.

Dr. Dan Mercola, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the School of Medicine, will lead a multi-institute collaboration, which will include researchers from the departments of pathology and urology at UCI.

The goal of the new study is to develop a "gene signature" of prostate cancer for newly diagnosed patients based on a tumor biopsy or blood examination. This signature will let patients know if they have an aggressive form of cancer -- allowing them to better understand their disease and make crucial decisions for appropriate early stage treatment. As part of the study, Mercola will organize a prospective clinical trial at UCI.

"We are aiming to meet a critical unmet need in prostate cancer treatment," Mercola said. "Up to 30 percent of men with prostate cancer do not need radical treatments like radiation or surgery, and this test will allow us to determine who these people are."

Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy among men in the U.S. It may be either aggressive, which poses severe risks to the patient and requires radical treatment, or indolent, requiring only conservative medical management. However, it currently is not possible to tell patients which form of cancer they have.

In previous work, Mercola and his colleagues have developed methods for determining cell-specific gene expression of four major cell groups within prostate carcinoma, and they have identified more than 3,200 genes that are uniformly expressed in at least one of these cell types.

Physicians and researchers from UC San Diego; the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in San Diego; the Burnham Institute for Medical Research and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.; Northwestern University; the Translation Genomic Institute of Phoenix and Sun City Health Institute in Sun City, Ariz., also are involved with the project.

The UCI grant is one of six the National Cancer Institute awarded nationwide to collaborative research groups to explore how information derived from comprehensive molecular analyses can be used to impact the care of cancer patients and ultimately improve outcomes. For more information, see www.cancer.gov.
About the University of California, Irvine: Celebrating 40 years of innovation, the University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

Tom Vasich

UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media. To access, visit www.today.uci.edu/experts.

University of California - Irvine

Related Prostate Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Low risk of cancer spread on active surveillance for early prostate cancer
Men undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer have very low rates - one percent or less - of cancer spread (metastases) or death from prostate cancer, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Urology®, an Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA).

ESMO 2020: Breast cancer drug set to transform prostate cancer treatment
A drug used to treat breast and ovarian cancer can extend the lives of some men with prostate cancer and should become a new standard treatment for the disease, concludes a major trial which is set to change clinical practice.

Major trial shows breast cancer drug can hit prostate cancer Achilles heel
A drug already licensed for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers is more effective than targeted hormone therapy at keeping cancer in check in some men with advanced prostate cancer, a major clinical trial reports.

The Lancet: Prostate cancer study finds molecular imaging could transform management of patients with aggressive cancer
Results from a randomised controlled trial involving 300 prostate cancer patients find that a molecular imaging technique is more accurate than conventional medical imaging and recommends the scans be introduced into routine clinical practice.

Common genetic defect in prostate cancer inspires path to new anti-cancer drugs
Researchers found that, in prostate cancer, a mutation leading to the loss of one allele of a tumor suppressor gene known as PPP2R2A is enough to worsen a tumor caused by other mutations.

First prostate cancer therapy to target genes delays cancer progression
For the first time, prostate cancer has been treated based on the genetic makeup of the cancer, resulting in delayed disease progression, delayed time to pain progression, and potentially extending lives in patients with advanced, metastatic prostate cancer, reports a large phase 3 trial.

Men taking medications for enlarged prostate face delays in prostate cancer diagnosis
University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers report that men treated with medications for benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) experienced a two-year delay in diagnosis of their prostate cancer and were twice as likely to have advanced disease upon diagnosis.

CNIO researchers confirm links between aggressive prostate cancer and hereditary breast cancer
The study has potential implications for families with members suffering from these types of tumours who are at an increased risk of developing cancer.

Distinguishing fatal prostate cancer from 'manageable' cancer now possible
Scientists at the University of York have found a way of distinguishing between fatal prostate cancer and manageable cancer, which could reduce unnecessary surgeries and radiotherapy.

Researchers find prostate cancer drug byproduct can fuel cancer cells
A genetic anomaly in certain men with prostate cancer may impact their response to common drugs used to treat the disease, according to new research at Cleveland Clinic.

Read More: Prostate Cancer News and Prostate Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.