Collaborative Prostate Cancer Foundation Grant Awarded

Study will examine racial, ethnic differences in prostate tumors

Cleveland Clinic, along with the National Cancer Institute, the University of Chicago and Thomas Jefferson University, are the recipients of a $600,000 Special Challenge Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation to investigate the role of abnormally high protein levels in prostate tumors.

The increased expression of approximately 25 proteins – referred to as interferon-related DNA damage resistance signatures (IRDS) – correlates strongly with resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. African-American men with prostate cancer are much more likely to have the IRDS signature than Caucasian men and are two times more likely to die from the disease.

“The goal of our research is to further investigate the biology behind the obvious aggressive behavior of prostate tumors in African-American men in the hopes of better understanding its biology and identifying new management and treatment options,” says Eric Klein, MD, Chair, Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute (GUKI), holder of the Andrew C. Novick, MD, Distinguished Chair in Urology and principal investigator on the grant.

“We don't know whether the tumors themselves or tumor-associated immune cells are the primary sources of the interferon that enables the cancer cells to resist therapy or how such resistance is achieved,” said George Stark, PhD, Distinguished Scientist in Department of Molecular Genetics in the Lerner Research Institute (LRI). “These questions are being actively investigated in our laboratories.”

Other Cleveland Clinic investigators involved in this project include Andrew Stephenson, MD, GUKI, and Robert Silverman, PhD, staff member in the LRI Department of Cancer Biology and holder of the Mal and Lea Bank Chair. Read the story in the The Plain Dealer.