UCLA researchers receive grant from Prostate Cancer Foundation

Group is part of a multi-institutional team that will work to develop new treatments for prostate cancer
Credit: kkolosov - stock.adobe.com

The UCLA Ahmanson Translational Theranostics prostate cancer research group is part of a multi-institutional team that will receive a $10 million Prostate Cancer Foundation grant to develop new treatments for prostate cancer.

Dr. Christine Mona, an assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology, Dr. Caius Radu and Dr. Johannes Czernin, professors in the same department, will lead the UCLA group.

The PCF Tactical (Therapy ACceleration To Intercept CAncer Lethality) Award supports UCLA and researchers in Australia, Germany and at UC San Francisco. It aims to improve outcomes for prostate cancer patients by optimizing radiation approaches, discovering new therapeutic targets and understanding resistance to current molecular radiotherapy approaches.

The team will develop a new treatment called targeted alpha therapy using the radioactive substance Lead-212. This emits highly energic particles that can eradicate cancer while traveling less than the width of a human hair, limiting side effects. At UCLA, the approach will be combined with small molecules targeting and binding to the prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) enabling delivery of a radioactive payload. Additionally, the team will characterize mechanisms of treatment resistance and develop biomarkers for better personalized treatments.

The team is hopeful their discoveries will transform treatment for men with highly aggressive and lethal prostate cancers that currently lack effective diagnostics and therapies. The newly explored targets, which are also expressed in other cancers, may have equal or greater impact beyond prostate cancer.

Read more about the award on the Prostate Cancer Foundation website.