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NCCN Announces Funding for Prostate Cancer Research Projects, in Collaboration with Pfizer and Astellas

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Oncology Research Program to oversee projects focused on the use of enzalutamide in treating people with prostate cancer.

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [November 4, 2021] — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Oncology Research Program (ORP) today announced projects awarded to develop innovative and impactful studies that address unmet needs, as well as support the design and performance of enzalutamide research, in the treatment of prostate cancer. Grant funding will be provided by Pfizer Global Medical Grants (Pfizer) and Astellas Pharma Global Development (Astellas).

“This research will help us advance scientific knowledge on the mechanisms of resistance, underlying biology, and clinical effectiveness of enzalutamide-based therapy in prostate cancer” said Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, FACP, Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer, NCCN. “Congratulations to all of the grantees. We look forward to findings that may guide the development of enzalutamide and its combination with other therapies.”

The selected projects are:

  • Joshi Alumkal, MD, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
    • Clarifying Tumor and Microenvironmental Determinants of Enzalutamide Resistance
  • Ajjai Alva, MBBS, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
    • Novel Genomic Prognostic Model in Enzalutamide Treated Prostate Cancer
  • Adam Sowalsky, PhD, National Cancer Institute – Bethesda
    • A Correlative Study of High-Risk Localized Prostate Cancers Treated with Neoadjuvant ADT Plus Enzalutamide Prior to Surgery to Assess the Molecular Basis for Sensitization with HER2 or HER3 Inhibition
  • Russell Z. Szmulewitz, MD, The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
    • Phase IIa Neoadjuvant Study of Enzalutamide and Androgen Deprivation with the Selective Glucocorticoid Receptor Antagonist Relacorilant for High-Risk Localized Castration-Sensitive Prostate Cancer

Joshi Alumkal, MD, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer CenterAjjai Alva, MBBS, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer CenterAdam Sowalsky, PhD, National Cancer Institute – BethesdaRussell Z. Szmulewitz, MD, The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center

From left: Drs. Alumkal, Alva, Sowalsky, and Szmulewitz

Proposals were peer reviewed by a Scientific Review Committee, which consisted of leading expert oncologists from NCCN Member Institutions. The selected priority areas focused on the development of novel treatment approaches because of their ability to impact the unmet needs for patients with potentially lethal prostate cancer. The projects are set to be completed within three years. Collectively, the total amount of grants awarded for this study are approximately $2 million.

The NCCN ORP fosters innovation and knowledge discovery that improve the lives of people with cancer and supports preclinical, translational, clinical research and quality improvement projects in oncology at NCCN Member Institutions. In an effort to improve collaboration in cancer research, the NCCN ORP also maintains a shared resources website and an informed consent database. For more information, visit NCCN.org/orp.

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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, efficient, and accessible cancer care so patients can live better lives. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) provide transparent, evidence-based, expert consensus recommendations for cancer treatment, prevention, and supportive services; they are the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer management and the most thorough and frequently-updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients® provide expert cancer treatment information to inform and empower patients and caregivers, through support from the NCCN Foundation®. NCCN also advances continuing education, global initiatives, policy, and research collaboration and publication in oncology. Visit NCCN.org for more information and follow NCCN on Facebook @NCCNorg, Instagram @NCCNorg, and Twitter @NCCN.