Researcher receives Young Investigator Award to investigate new stromal biomarker for prostate cancer

Dr. Jeremie Calais
Dr. Jeremie Calais

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Dr. Jeremie Calais, assistant professor of nuclear medicine and theranostics in the department of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is one of 26 researchers to be named a 2020 Young Investigator by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

In recognition of innovative prostate cancer research, the Young Investigator Award is given to the next generation of cancer researchers who are committed to advancing the prostate cancer field.

Calais, who is trained in nuclear medicine and cancer imaging, was awarded the Larry Ruvo-PCF Young Investigator Award and $225,000 to help support his work investigating a PET imaging tracer that targets the fibroblast activation protein, or FAP, expressed on fibroblasts within the tumor stroma or on cancer-associated fibroblasts. Validating a biomarker for FAP expression may help guide treatment decisions for men with prostate cancer, providing men with more personalized treatments.

"It's an honor to be recognized with my fellow colleagues," said Calais, who is a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. "This award will help us to further define the role of FAP-targeted approaches in prostate cancer. The cancer stroma serves as a potential resistance factor to anti-cancer therapies and targeting the tumor stroma via FAP may open the door to new, promising therapeutic concepts."

Calais' research focuses on improving the outcomes for cancer patients by translating and applying novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. He uses PET/CT imaging for cancer phenotyping, radiation therapy planning and therapy response assessment.

Most recently, his work on prostate-specific membrane antigen, or PSMA, PET imaging for prostate cancer helped UCLA and UC San Francisco's joint effort to obtain FDA approval of the PSMA PET scan, a new imaging technique for prostate cancer that locates cancer lesions in the body to which the cancer has migrated.

Calais is a member of the UCLA Institute of Urologic Oncology and leads the clinical research program of the Ahmanson Translational Theranostics Division at UCLA, which combines radionuclide therapy and imaging.