Prostate cancer is a major health challenge for men: One in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime in the United States. Although some experts say that more men will die with prostate cancer than of it, approximately 29,000 American men will die from prostate cancer in 2014. The numbers are even more sobering for African-American men, who are more likely to develop prostate cancer, and are nearly 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease than Caucasian men.
Making significant inroads into these challenges requires a multifaceted approach – one that increases awareness about the risk factors of prostate cancer, encourages screening for early detection in men who are at high risk, and develops new treatment strategies based on the biology of the disease.
A team of prostate cancer physicians and scientists from the University of Chicago Medicine, including Suzanne Conzen, MD, Geoffrey Greene, PhD, Walter Stadler, MD, Donald Vander Griend, PhD, Russell Szmulewitz, MD, David VanderWeele, MD, PhD, and Stanley Liauw, MD, was recently recognized at the 21st Annual Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Scientific Meeting as a 2014 Movember-PCF Challenge Award winner. The work funded by this $1M grant, led by Conzen, will test a new drug in prostate cancers that have developed resistance to commonly used hormonal therapy (also called androgen deprivation therapy or androgen suppression therapy).
In Conzen’s previous work, this approach showed promise for the treatment of some breast cancers. The team will determine the effectiveness of glucocorticoid receptor inhibitors in combination with hormonal therapy and has initiated clinical trials to this end. An additional goal of this work is to leverage knowledge of how these drugs work to develop clinical biomarkers of therapeutic response in these patients.
This Challenge Award was jointly supported by the PCF and Movember Foundation – a leading global organization committed to changing the face of men’s health, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health … by changing the faces of men who support them. As you’ve probably noticed by the wispy mustaches sprouting on co-workers and friends last month, during the month of November, Movember supporters grow mustaches to encourage dialogue about men’s health and raise funds to benefit men’s health programs and research, like that funded by the PCF.
The prostate cancer team, under Conzen’s and Stadler’s leadership, recruited many of their colleagues, staff and trainees to create the University of Chicago Monsters of the Mo Movember team. Although the final tally is not yet in, the Monsters of the Mo team raised more than $5,300 for men’s health, including prostate cancer research. Their efforts emphasize the power of paying it forward and the impact of tackling prostate cancer through both awareness and pioneering research…one mo at a time.