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$10 million boost for efforts to personalise prostate cancer treatment

Professor Johann de Bono from The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research will collaborate with other leading prostate cancer researchers in a $10 million global effort to drive the development of personalised treatment for this disease.

Stand Up to Cancer, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the American Association for Cancer Research have this week announced the formation of a prostate cancer “Dream Team”, drawn from five leading prostate cancer clinical research centres in the US and London.

Dream Team principal member Professor de Bono, Professor in Experimental Cancer Medicine and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at the ICR and The Royal Marsden, said: “We have made great strides forward in developing new drugs to treat men with prostate cancer, along with the technology needed to examine the DNA faults causing these cancers. This project represents the next step – a global effort to combine these two advances to create a truly personalised approach to treating prostate cancers.

“I am thrilled and proud to be part of this collaboration, which should make a real and lasting difference to the way we care for men with advanced prostate cancer.”

Around 37,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, but these cancers can be quite different genetically. Importantly, differences in gene faults in the cancers can affect the way they react to treatments.

In recent years a number of new drugs have been shown to extend life for men with advanced prostate cancer, including several that Professor de Bono and his colleagues at the ICR and The Royal Marsden helped develop. The Dream Team aims to devise tests that can help doctors determine which of these new options – and future experimental drugs - will best benefit their patients.

Over their three-year project, the Dream Team will systematically scan the genomes of patients with advanced metastatic cancer. They will look for gene alterations that are more common in patients who respond to therapies, as well as alterations in patients who develop resistance to the drugs. Ultimately, they hope to identify a panel of biological markers that doctors can use to make sure treatments are targeted specifically to their patient’s cancer and to successfully develop further treatment for this commonest of male cancers.

The Dream Team is comprised of scientists from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Broad Institute at Harvard in Boston; and The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at The University of Washington in Seattle. Along with Professor de Bono, the team also includes Dr Gerhardt Attard from the ICR and The Royal Marsden.

The project is estimated to start mid-2012 with the first clinical trials scheduled to open in early 2013.


Johann de Bono
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