Burnham to collaborate on NCI-funded task force to find 'molecular signature' for prostate cancer

December 14, 2005

(La Jolla, CA - December 13, 2005) The Burnham Institute for Medical Research will collaborate on a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional task force aimed at defining the "molecular signatures" that distinguish different stages of prostate cancer funded by the National Cancer Institute as part of its new Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures ("SPECS") Program. Led by UC Irvine, the consortium will receive $9.5 MM over the next five years.

One out of six men in America will be afflicted with prostate cancer over the course of a lifetime; one-third by age 50, and nearly 75% by age 75. According to the National Cancer Institute, about half of the 16% diagnosed for prostate cancer will develop significant symptoms. In the other half, prostate tumors develop so slowly that the disease will not progress fully in the bearer's lifetime. Current diagnostic methods for prostate cancer cannot distinguish between the rapid-growing, life-threatening and the slow-growing, indolent forms of the disease. Physicians must prescribe treatment with partial knowledge, in many cases recommending treatment that is unnecessary. The SPECS Program consortium aims to examine the various phases of prostate cancer, profiling the disease from its genetic make up, developing a molecular signature, which ultimately will enable better-informed diagnoses and treatment.

Drs. John C. Reed, Stanislaw Krajewski, and Maryla Krajewska of the Burnham will conduct tissue microarray analysis examining 4,000 prostate tissue samples for cancer "markers" or certain gene products that are indicative of the clinical behavior of prostate cancer cells.

"These comparative analyses will be compiled into a diagnostic tool that will guide a more informed prognosis for individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer," said Dr. Reed. "Working together with the SPECS team, we look forward to defining the molecular signatures that identify which prostate cancers require therapy, and what the optimal treatment choice should be for each tumor. I also hope to continue the track-record of accomplishment previously laid by Burnham scientists who invented the diagnostic method upon which the current PSA test is based."

In addition to UC Irvine and the Burnham, other collaborating institutions include UC San Diego, Northwestern University, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in San Diego, the Translation Genomic Institute of Phoenix, and the Sun Health Research Institute.

The UC Irvine consortium on prostate cancer is one of six awards granted under NCI's newly established Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures (SPECS). The other SPECS awards were allocated for 1) childhood leukemias, 2) non-Hodgekin's lymphoma, 3) lymphocytic leukemia, 4) lung cancer, and 5) breast cancer. NCI founded the SPECS program "to bridge the gap between discovery and application of molecular profiles by confirming, refining, and evaluating molecular signatures that previously have been demonstrated to be clinically useful."

Dr. John C. Reed is President and CEO of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, where he directs a laboratory of 40 cancer researchers. He is also founder of the San Diego Prostate Cancer Consortium. Some of Dr. Reed's earlier research on prostate cancer was funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, founded in the early 1980's as "CaP-CURE" by Michael Milken. Dr. Reed has served as an advisor to that organization. Dr. Reed is inventor of the DNA-based drug GenasenseTM, now in Phase III testing for hormone refractory prostate cancer.

Dr. Stanislaw Krajewski and Dr. Maryla Krajewska of the Burnham are co-principal investigators on the Burnham's portion of the project.
-end-
About the Burnham Institute for Medical Research

The Burnham Institute for Medical Research, founded in 1976, is an independent not-for-profit biomedical research institution dedicated to advancing the frontiers of scientific knowledge and providing the foundation for tomorrow's medical therapies. The Institute is home to three major centers: the Cancer Center, the Del E. Webb Neuroscience and Aging Center, and the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center. Since 1981, the Institute's Cancer Center has been a member of the National Cancer Institute's prestigious Cancer Centers program. Discoveries by Burnham scientists have contributed to the development of new drugs for Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and several forms of cancer. Today the Institute employs over 725, including more than 550 scientists. The majority of the Institute's funding derives from federal sources, but private philanthropic support is essential to continuing bold and innovative research. For additional information about the Institute and ways to support the research efforts of the Institute, visit www.burnham.org.

Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

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.