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Lurie Cancer Center Receives $11 Million NCI Award to Accelerate Prostate Cancer Research

William Catalona
William Catalona, MD

The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University has been awarded a new $11 million, five-year competitive grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for its continued leadership of a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) in prostate cancer; one of only eight in the country.

First funded in 2001, the multi-center consortium provides an integrated scientific environment that leverages the expertise and resources of its members to strengthen the proposed research projects. “The SPORE represents a major investment by the NCI in our prostate cancer research program,” said William Catalona, MD, Principal Investigator of the Prostate SPORE, Director of the Lurie Cancer Center’s Clinical Prostate Cancer Program, and Professor of Urology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. “We are delighted to be selected again for this prestigious award, achieved through an incredible team effort. The translational work performed under the SPORE will have a significant impact on the outcomes and overall quality of life of prostate cancer patients.”

Walter M. Stadler, MD, Fred C. Buffet Professor of Medicine and Surgery, and Director of the Genitourinary Program at the University of Chicago Medicine, is Co-Principal Investigator of the SPORE. Robin G. Leikin, PhD, Lurie Cancer Center, is the grant’s Scientific Administrator.

The Prostate SPORE unites basic scientists, clinicians, pathologists, biostatisticians, bioinformaticians, and advocates to examine the basic biology of prostate cancer. In addition, the interdisciplinary teams design and conduct innovative clinical trials that will offer entirely new approaches to the treatment of prostate cancer.

The SPOREs are a cornerstone of the NCI’s efforts to promote collaborative, translational cancer research. In every project, the development of new interventions involve both a laboratory component and a human application that must be performed within the five-year term of the grant. The four major research projects of the Northwestern SPORE focus on two of the most important issues in prostate cancer today:

  • Determining germline genetic variations that predispose individuals and their families to prostate cancer, and help to identify which patients need immediate treatment and which can be managed with active surveillance.
  • Addressing the need for new treatments for men with advanced cancer that no longer responds to current therapy.

In addition to the Lurie Cancer Center investigators, the research effort includes contributions from the University of Chicago, NorthShore / UC, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California, and the University of California, San Francisco.

We are excited to have been recognized by the NCI for our innovative research efforts in prostate cancer,” said Leonidas C.  Platanias, MD, PhD, Director of the Lurie Cancer Center. “The resources provided by the prostate SPORE will facilitate our continuous efforts to bring this research from the lab to our cancer patients.”

(Last updated on August 27, 2015 )