Mayo Clinic Cancer Center’s Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for prostate cancer research has been renewed for an additional five years. SPORE grants are highly competitive awards given to institutions on the cutting edge of translational research in specific types of cancer.
Mayo’s original five-year prostate SPORE grant of $12 million was awarded in 2001. The current grant brings an additional $11.2 million over five years to Mayo Clinic to advance translational research intended to reduce deaths due to prostate cancer. Mayo Clinic oncology researcher Donald Tindall, Ph.D., is the principal investigator. He leads a large multidisciplinary team of basic, clinical and population science investigators in translational research projects to help prostate cancer patients and those at risk for prostate cancer.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, but we are continually gaining a better understanding of the disease, and advancing toward better treatments and someday hopefully a cure,” says Dr. Tindall. “The SPORE grant allows our team of scientists and clinicians to further research in the arenas of diagnosis and individualized treatment, including how to predict response to therapy and several unique and promising treatment options.”
Translational research involves taking basic science discoveries in the laboratory and adapting those findings to treatment of patients in the hospital or clinic. The grant will fund these major projects:
Identifying biomarkers to predict an individual’s response to different therapeutic options
Developing and validating a trans-rectal vibro-acoustography tool for prostate imaging, resulting in a relatively noninvasive, high-quality imaging option for diagnosis and treatment
Conducting clinical research studies evaluating a viral delivery mechanism for radioactive iodine to safely and effectively treat prostate cancer
Administering clinical studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of the allogeneic prostate cancer whole-cell vaccine; and also a topical vaccine derived from prostate-associated antigens PSMA and TARP
In addition to these research projects, the SPORE grant funds a developmental research program to explore innovative research ideas and a career development program for the next generation of prostate cancer scientists.
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center (cancercenter.mayo.edu, opens in new window) is an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a national recognition of excellence in education, research and treatment of cancer. The prostate cancer SPORE is one of six SPORE cancer research programs at Mayo’s locations in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. Mayo Clinic also has been awarded SPOREs in breast, brain and pancreatic cancer, and shares SPOREs for lymphoma and myeloma with other institutions.
NCI established the SPORE program in 1992 to promote interdisciplinary research and speed the transition of basic research findings from the laboratory to applied settings involving patients and populations. The program’s goal is to bring into clinical care novel ideas that potentially can reduce cancer incidence and mortality, improve survival and enhance patients’ quality of life. Laboratory and clinical scientists collaboratively plan, design and implement research programs focused on cancer prevention and control, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and survival.