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Institute Scientist Receives Global Award

Wednesday 20th August 2008


The Institute of Cancer Research's scientist, Dr Gerhardt Attard has been awarded a Young Investigator Award by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) for his ongoing work into developing the prostate cancer drug abiraterone.


Designed to encourage the most innovative research thinkers to continue their careers in prostate cancer research, the awards provide recipients with $75,000 annually for three years to support specified research programs.


This year's Young Investigator Awards represent a new $4.3 million commitment by the PCF to the global cancer research community.


Dr Attard's award will be dedicated towards research at the London-based Institute into the inhibition of the hormone CYP17 by abiraterone, which is showing promising results in treating advanced prostate cancer.


Dr Attard says:

"I am deeply honoured by this award. The PCF's contribution will help our team to carry out important work into understanding the mechanisms that cause resistance to hormone treatments, such as abiraterone. We have developed a test that allows us to identify and study circulating prostate-cancer cells and are using this to identify biological differences that exist between patients that respond to abiraterone and those that do not.


"We are also collecting and analysing these cells at regular intervals from patients on treatment with abiraterone and are identifying changes in the cancer that make it resistant to hormone treatments."


The 19 Young Investigator Award recipients were selected by an expert committee comprised of 25 leading scientists and clinicians.


"The response to the first year's call for applicants was global, resulting in 76 applications from eight countries in North America, Europe and Asia," commented Dr. Howard Soule, executive vice president and chief science officer for the PCF.


"The research proposals focused on 16 different prostate cancer research areas. The applicants represented seven medical and scientific disciplines including medical oncology, radiation oncology, urology, pathology, imaging science and many areas of molecular science. Supporting a focus on prostate cancer by talented, young investigators is critical to realizing the PCF's goal of accelerating breakthrough discoveries that can potentially end death and suffering from prostate cancer."


Information on the 2008 PCF Young Investigator Award recipients may be found at


Media contact:

Cathy Beveridge, 07776181945/ 020 7153 5106, [email protected]


About abiraterone

Abiraterone was developed at The Institute of Cancer Research in London and works not only in blocking the generation of these hormones in the testes, but also elsewhere in the body, including generation of hormones in the cancer itself. Initial studies are showing that it is effective in treating up to 80 per cent of men with the most aggressive form of prostate cancer.

For more information please see our recent press release:

About The Institute of Cancer Research
The Institute of Cancer Research is Europe’s leading cancer research centre with expert scientists working on cutting edge research. It was founded in 1909 to carry out research into the causes of cancer and to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

For more information visit .

The Institute is a charity that relies on voluntary income. The Institute is one of the world’s most cost-effective major cancer research organisations with over 95p in every £ of total income directly supporting research.

About the Prostate Cancer Foundation

The PCF’s Young Investigator awards are inspired by Donald S. Coffey, PhD, prostate cancer research director at Johns Hopkins for 40 years. He has mentored more than 50 scientists and physician-scientists and trained more than 30 of today’s leading prostate cancer researchers. These awards provide career and project support for young (generally 35 and under), proven investigators who have already achieved junior faculty positions and are committing their lives to the field of prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research. The foundation’s primary goal is discover better treatments and a cure for recurrent prostate cancer. PCF pursues its mission by reaching out to individuals, corporations and others to harness society’s resources--financial and human--to fight this deadly disease that strikes one out every six men.

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