UCLA researchers awarded Department of Defense funding to improve prostate cancer treatment outcomes

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A team led by Paul C Boutros, PhD, MBA, professor in the departments of human genetics and urology and interim vice dean for research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Cancer Data Science program has been awarded over $2.7 million in research funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to support two projects that will use computational models and DNA sequencing to improve prostate cancer treatment outcomes. The project is co-led by Huihui Ye, MD, MS, chief of Genitourinary Pathology at UCLA.

The funds will support two projects. The first aims to centralize prostate cancer DNA sequencing data from around the country, then use bioinformatics computing pipelines developed by Dr. Boutros’s lab to identify which genes are mutated repeatedly in prostate cancer to create biomarkers and ultimately optimize patient treatment. That data will then be made available to with prostate cancer researchers around the world to create a centralized resource for researchers and clinicians and reduce wasteful costs on repeated genomic studies.

The second project will use DNA sequencing and subsequent bioinformatics analysis to better understand how prostate cancer tumors evolve and metastasize to kill patients. Prostate cancer is very common, affecting about one in eight men in their lifetimes. In the vast majority of cases, the disease is treated successfully. Still, prostate cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About one man in 41 will die of prostate cancer.

“We hope to use this opportunity to better understand what makes prostate cancer tumors spread,” said Dr. Boutros. “This work has the potential of providing new insights to improve treatment and reduce prostate cancer’s deadly impact.”

The three year grants go into effect July 2022.

Grant information: “The Role of Genomic Diversity in Clinically High-Risk Prostate Cancer,” E01 W81XWH2210751; “Integrated Meta-Analysis of Prostate Cancer Genomes,” E01 W81XWH2210247.

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