The Career Enhancement Program will provide funding for investigators with outstanding research potential who wish to pursue careers in translational research in prostate cancer. Candidates will be either new investigators, with sufficient experience and demonstrated interest in prostate cancer research, or established investigators who wish to change their research direction into prostate cancer investigation. Applicants may be senior post-doctoral fellows with demonstrated interest and expertise, young investigators including new faculty recruitments, and established investigators. Three to four candidates will be selected for one year funding with the possibility of an additional year funding extension.
The UCLA SPORE in Prostate Cancer would like to congratulate the 2016-2017 Career Enhancement Program awardees. This year’s projects come from different departments across campus, and exemplify translational research.
John K Lee, MD, PhD
Hematology and Oncology, UCLA
Project Title: Combination therapy augmenting Myc destabilization by Aurora kinase A inhibition as a therapeutic strategy in advanced castration-resistant prostate cancer
Synopsis: Late-stage prostate cancer is often accompanied by enhanced activity of the Myc family of proteins. We have shown that destabilizing Myc proteins by targeting a binding partner, Aurora kinase A, in advanced prostate cancer may be effective in decreasing tumor burden. In the proposed studies, we hope to identify additional therapies that can be combined with inhibitors of Aurora kinase A to halt the growth of prostate cancer by further blocking the activity of Myc.
Nick Nickols, MD, PhD
Radiation Oncology, UCLA
Project Title: Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) induced immunity in prostate cancer: correlative analyses using tissue acquired from a Phase I Trial of prostate SBRT followed by surgery (IRB#15-001580).”
Synopsis: Certain kinds of prostate radiotherapy may increase the immune response mounted against prostate cancer. It may be possible to modulate this response for therapeutic gain. We will analyze tumor tissue and blood from patients to discover the nature of this immune response and how it can be improved. If successful, this could lead to new treatment strategies for patients with prostate cancer.
Roger Slavik, PhD
Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA; Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division
Project Title: Towards improved outcomes in prostate cancer: Combining radioligand therapy with DNA repair inhibition
Synopsis: PSMA targeted radioligand therapy using the lutetium-177 labeled peptide PSMA-617 is a novel, effective and well-tolerated treatment option for advanced castrate resistant prostate cancer patients. Unfortunately, as a single treatment this approach is not curative. The herein proposed research will set the stage for the systematic evaluation of this novel therapeutic approach in combination with pharmacological inhibition of the DNA damage and replication stress response pathways in a relevant prostate cancer mouse model.