Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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Lurie Cancer Center Investigators Receive $4M Prostate Cancer Foundation TACTICAL Award

AbdulkadirLurie Cancer Center investigators have received one of four inaugural Class of 2022 TACTICAL (Therapy ACceleration To Intercept CAncer Lethality) Awards from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). PCF’s $30 million program will support cross-disciplinary pioneering research toward the goal of developing 21st Century therapies for the most life-threatening form of prostate cancer.

Sarki Abdulkadir, MD, PhD, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center are principal investigators of the $4 million grant, Tactical Approaches to Repress oncogenic Gene Expression in prostatic Tumors (TARGET).”

Their team will employ a suite of cutting-edge drug development techniques to develop an effective inhibitor of MYC, a major driver of about 70% of all cancers, including prostate cancer. These agents will be rapidly translated into clinical trial testing and have the potential to benefit a broad population of patients, including all clinical stages of prostate cancer and many types of cancer beyond prostate cancer.

Co-investigators from Lurie Cancer Center and Northwestern Medicine are Maha Hussain, MD, and Gary Schiltz, PhD. Sarah Fenton, MD, PhD, is the project’s young investigator.           

PCF TACTICAL Awards are intended to support large-scale, multi-institutional team research projects addressing metastatic, lethal prostate cancer. The TACTICAL Campaign is PCF’s largest effort to date to develop novel therapies that target the molecular mechanisms driving lethal prostate cancer.

“We are making tremendous progress in developing new therapies for prostate cancer that prolong life, and improve the quality of life, but still an estimated 375,000 men will die of the disease this year,” says Charles J. Ryan, M.D., PCF president and CEO. “Recent research advances are revealing the mechanisms driving resistance to these therapies in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) or metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. We must now develop therapies that target these mechanisms.”

“PCF congratulates the investigators receiving the inaugural TACTICAL Awards on their research which we believe has the strongest potential to further reduce death and suffering from prostate cancer, and potentially other cancers, says Howard R. Soule, Ph.D., PCF executive vice president and chief science officer.

Abdulkadir is the John T. Grayhack Professor of Urological Research, Vice Chair for Research, and professor of Urology and Pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and associate director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Lurie Cancer Center. Hussain is the Genevieve Teuton Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and deputy director of the Lurie Cancer Center. Schiltz is research professor of Pharmacology and a member of the Lurie Cancer Center. Sarah Fenton, MD, PhD, is assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology.

Drs. Abdulkadir and Hussain are Co-Principal Investigators of the Lurie Cancer Center Prostate Cancer SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence).