NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
May 27, 2008 • Volume 5 / Number 11 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Community UpdateCommunity Update

NCI Partners with Canary Foundation on Prostate Cancer Study

Canary Foundation Logo NCI and the Canary Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds research on early cancer detection, have announced a partnership for the purpose of identifying and validating biomarkers for high-risk prostate cancer.

Diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer has its challenges, including overtreatment for non-lethal cases and the many cases of lethal prostate cancer that are still missed by current screening strategies. For example, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test commonly used to screen for prostate cancer is controversial, particularly its use in older men. One reason is that the forms of prostate cancer that are detected by PSA testing late in life often progress slowly, as opposed to the more aggressive and often fatal forms of the disease that may occur earlier.

NCI and the Canary Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with a joint goal of reducing overtreatment by identifying aggressive versus passive prostate tumors. The Foundation - working with NCI's Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) - has pledged $3 million to initiate a Prostate Active Surveillance Study (PASS) at six research institutions across the country. EDRN will establish a disease-specific version of the Common Data Elements, a biospecimen management system, and a protocol oversight program to expedite the storage and processing of patient information and biological specimens.

Additionally, the Canary Foundation and EDRN will jointly establish a Biomarker Evaluation Group to determine those biomarkers that are most promising for evaluation, using the biologic materials collected by the Canary Prostate Consortium.

"Both Canary and EDRN believe that early detection technologies will lead the way on finding better cancer treatments for patients," said Don Listwin, founder and CEO of the Canary Foundation. "In this specific study, we hope to identify biomarkers that will tell us which prostate cancers need to be aggressively treated, and which do not. Being able to collaborate with EDRN will help us achieve this goal much faster."

Dr. Sudhir Srivastava, chief of NCI's Cancer Biomarkers Research Group, noted: "We are delighted to join forces with the Canary Foundation. With prostate cancer being one of the major focus areas for Canary's cancer programs, and with EDRN's multiple ongoing studies related to the early detection of prostate cancer, we see this as a complementary and significant partnership."

The six institutions that will participate in the active surveillance study are Stanford University; University of California, San Francisco; University of British Columbia; University of Washington; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; and University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The Canary prostate team is headed by Dr. Peter Nelson, member of the Human Biology and Clinical Research Divisions at Fred Hutchinson and professor of oncology at the University of Washington. He is also a practicing medical oncologist, with a clinical specialty focused on the treatment of prostate cancer.

"We are proud to launch this new study with EDRN and with the participation of leading research institutes," said Dr. Nelson. "Through collaboration we can make bigger strides in providing better, more individualized treatment for prostate cancer patients."

—Bill Robinson