Three scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Siteman Cancer Center will receive $600,000 in funding over two years for their innovative approach to detecting a type of advanced prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men in the U.S., with an estimated 175,000 new cases diagnosed in 2019. The most deadly form is initially treated with drugs such as abiraterone, also known as Zytiga, and enzalutamide, also known as Xtandi. However, patients can become resistant to these targeted therapies, resulting in a median survival of about 5 ½ months. Some of these patients may respond better to other therapies such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy. By identifying patients with resistant cancer sooner, treatments can be better tailored and administered earlier, potentially making them more effective.
A test exists that detects these resistant tumors in metastatic prostate cancer patients; however, the funding from the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Research Fund is meant to speed development of a more advanced test that aims to identify these cancers earlier and with better sensitivity.
The recipients are: Aadel Chaudhuri, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of radiation oncology, of genetics, and of computer science and engineering; Christopher Maher, PhD, an associate professor of medicine and an assistant director at the McDonnell Genome Institute; and Russell Pachynski, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the oncology division. All are faculty at the School of Medicine. Chaudhuri, a radiation oncologist, and Pachynski, a medical oncologist, also treat patients at Siteman.
Grants from the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Research Fund are given to advance promising early-stage science that might not receive funding from traditional sources because of its unconventional approach. Alvin J. Siteman, an emeritus Washington University trustee, chairman of Site Oil Co. and president of Flash Oil Co., established the fund in 2010. Since then, it has provided $13.25 million in funding to 19 projects at Washington University and Siteman Cancer Center. All projects are reviewed and recommended by an external review panel.