Two Prostate Cancer Research Projects Selected for National Challenge Awards

Dr. Joshua Lang - prostate cancer research

Two of six national Challenge Awards from the Prostate Cancer Foundation in partnership with the Movember Foundation will support research led by Department of Medicine and UW Carbone Cancer Center faculty members. Each grant provides $1M over two years for a team science project that includes a young investigator. 

Joshua Lang, MD, MS, assistant professor, Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care, will lead a clinical trial using an antibody drug to target TROP-2, a protein highly expressed on prostate cancer cells. His team includes Dr. Howard Scher, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Dr. Scott Dehm, of Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Scott Tagawa, of Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian; and Dr. Kimberly Ku, fellow, Hematology and Oncology Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“It’s incredibly exciting to receive this award and what an honor for UW Carbone to win two of the awards out of the 92 proposals submitted,’’ said Dr. Lang.

Douglas McNeel, MD, PhD, professor, Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care, will use his grant to support a clinical trial that takes a DNA vaccine approach to teach the patient’s immune system to attack prostate cancer cells when they return in the metastatic stage of the disease. The trial will build on data from Dr. McNeel’s laboratory and a previous clinical trial funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and his spinoff company Madison Vaccines, Inc., demonstrating that PD-1 inhibitor drugs can make therapeutic cancer vaccines work better. The current trial will determine whether this approach will be more effective by using two prostate cancer vaccines.  

Dr. McNeel's team includes Glenn Liu, MD, professor, Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care; Robert Jeraj, PhD, professor, Department of Medical Physics; and Christos Kyriakopoulos, MD, assistant professor (CHS), Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care. The project was selected as the 2017 Movember Foundation-Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Challenge Award.

“I’m very grateful to Movember and the Prostate Cancer Foundation for helping us expand this very exciting work," says Dr. McNeel.

 

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Photo caption: Dr. Joshua Lang, right, is leading a multi-institutional team that has been selected for a national challenge award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Photo credit: Clint Thayer/Department of Medicine