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Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center

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Meyer investigators land two of six prestigious national awards

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Photo of Christopher Barbieri, M.D., Ph.D.Christopher Barbieri, M.D., Ph.D. Two young investigators from the Meyer Cancer Center were among six awarded prestigious Challenge Awards from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). The Challenge Awards are multi-year grants supporting cross-disciplinary teams of research scientists; $39 million went toward supporting research programs in 2014.

Christopher Barbieri, M.D., Ph.D., will use the money to fund his project, “Targeting Genomic Instability in SPOP Mutant Prostate Cancer." 

Himisha Beltran, M.D., will lead the project “Early Detection of Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer Transformation Using Circulating Genomic Signatures.”Photo of Himisha Beltran, M.D.Himisha Beltran, M.D.

Earlier this year, PCF solicited applications in the field of treatment sciences, a field that specifically assesses patient response to therapeutics. These projects are designed around research in humans, resulting in a direct impact on treatment strategies for millions of prostate cancer patients and their families.

“What is so meaningful about these projects is their emphasis on putting the most severe cases of prostate cancer into lasting remissions,” says Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “The Foundation’s support of treatment sciences research has immediate clinical relevancy that will result in game-changing therapies for all men with this disease.”

Awardees were selected from a pool of 55 applicants, representing 48 institutions in 13 countries around the world. Each submitted proposal was subjected to a rigorous, two-round peer review process in which the projects were assessed for clinical relevancy and their potential for near-term impact on standard of care. Priority was given to high-risk, first-in-field and currently unfunded projects—typically falling outside the parameters of conventional funding organizations. These innovative projects have the potential to develop game-changing diagnostic and prognostic tests for lethal disease.

All Challenge Award teams are required to embed in their team at least one PCF Young Investigator, demonstrating PCF’s commitment to the career development of early and mid-career scientists. Both Beltran and Barbieri are former PCF Young Investigators.