Prostate Cancer Canada’s vision for Research and Support Services is to establish programs to support research that will have the greatest potential to improve prostate cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment and to better manage survivorship.
To that end, PCC recently developed a new national research strategy geared to accelerate the world’s most promising research and enable game-changing projects that will lead to improved patient care and treatments. This strategy also includes a comprehensive survivorship program to help support patients throughout their journey with prostate cancer.
To create this strategy, PCC conducted a scan of the prostate cancer environment that identified gaps and opportunities, a community survey, and enlisted the aid of leading Canadian prostate cancer researchers as a research advisory panel. As the culmination of this work, the strategy identifies three main priorities:
Innovative Research - Innovation must continue to be the main driver of prostate cancer research in Canada to develop novel ways to prevent, diagnose and treat prostate cancer and better manage the issues experienced by men and their families as they go through their prostate cancer journey.
Team Science - As more information is generated about prostate cancer, the complexity of the field is increasing. This places a greater emphasis on establishing large multidisciplinary research teams that are able to view and tackle the complex issues from many perspectives.
Talented People – Building human capacity in prostate cancer research is extremely important. The strategy presents ways to train and help retain the next generation of prostate cancer research leaders.
These priorities will be addressed through a series of request for proposal grants to be announced in the coming months. To read more about the strategy, including the details on the environmental scan and survey results click here. Funds raised during Movember will be implemented via this strategy.
Watch this video for a glimpse of how PCC’s research advisory panel aided in the strategy creation:
Examples of Movember Funded Programs
The Movember Team Grants
Recently launched, these grants facilitate collaboration between researchers and institutions from different areas of focus. Researcher expertise can range from specialists in biology to treatment, diagnoses to survivorship and prevention. This program brings together Canadian experts to pool their expertise and focus on a specific topic, while also providing a training environment for investigators just starting their research careers, such as fellows, graduate and undergraduate students and others from a multidisciplinary environment.
Team Grants will be awarded to proposals that keep this multidisciplinary approach in order to answer specific prostate cancer questions.
Movember and PCC have found that through collaboration, both nationally and internationally, we can learn from others experience, look at problems with fresh eyes and make a greater difference to those going through prostate cancer. Successful applicants will be announced in July of 2013, with funding that could span up to 5 years. This is the first grant announcement as part of PCC’s new national research strategy. Interested in learning more about these grants? Click here for more info including how researchers can apply.
Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Project (CPC GENE)
This ground breaking project is mapping out the genes that lead to prostate cancer in general and also those that lead to aggressive forms of prostate cancer. As a part of the larger International Cancer Genome Consortium, Canada is leading the charge with CPC GENE and is developing a national and international group of scientists to facilitate the project.
The aim of this research is to be able to develop gene-based diagnoses to help physicians in determining which patients require more intensive therapies and which patients would benefit from careful monitoring, a process called “active surveillance”. An expected secondary result is that some of the cancer mutations detected by CPC GENE will fuel the development of new cancer medications. This will be an incredible development, as being able to personalize treatments will dramatically improve the quality of life for men living with or being treated for Prostate Cancer.
Made possible with funds from Movember, this project is being driven by Dr. Rob Bristow, Senior Scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute, the research arm of the University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH). This is an internationally collaborative project with researchers based in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Kingston and Montreal all working with those in the United Kingdom, France and Germany to produce results throughout this five year project.
Movember Clinician Scientist Awards
Each year PCC directs a portion of Movember funds raised to the Movember Clinician Scientist Awards. The awards provide salary and research support to outstanding scientists in the field prostate cancer exploration. These scientists make major contributions in the field of research knowledge that lead to improved patient care and health. There were two recipients of this award this year. One of the recipients, Girish Kulkarni is developing tools for personalized medicine with the aim of biopsy avoidance in patients at risk for prostate cancer and those with low prostate cancer risk.
For more information on the Movember Clinician Scientist Awards please click here. To read more about the grants awarded this year please visit www.prostatecancer.ca.
Prostate Health Clinic at the new Edmonton Clinic
In 2010 a portion of the funds raised from Movember went to support the development of the specialized Prostate Health Clinic at the new Edmonton Clinic. There have been significant advances at the Edmonton Clinic including the purchase of two, state-of-the-art robotic surgery systems for use at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the University of Alberta Hospital. The final phase will complete the development of the world-class, rapid access Prostate Health Clinic, offering specialized diagnostic and treatment services to men from western and northern Canada that are affected by prostate conditions. This clinic will also support coordinated, province-wide research initiatives through the Cross Cancer Institute.
Movember New and Established Investigator Pilot Grant Program
The Movember New and Established Investigator Pilot grants fund innovative, high potential programs that could significantly advance research with the aim of finding better treatments. There are two divisions of this grant to allow for both new and established investigators the opportunity to lead promising research. Providing this opportunity specifically for new investigators is very important as it allows them the opportunity to begin advancing prostate cancer knowledge as they grow as researchers.
This Program is specifically designed to complement traditional sources of funding. Physicians, researchers and scientists from all across Canada, many of whom are first-time grantees, are often the recipients of these grants. These projects are typically early stage and as such the grant is the only source of funding. There were 16 of these grants awarded in 2012.
Dr. Anthony Joshua is a researcher who is primarily concerned with survival mechanisms of prostate cancer. He is currently focused on the mechanism called autophagy in which cells of prostate cancer eat each other in order to survive when they are in a stressed environment. Through his research Dr. Joshua hopes to develop drugs that block this survival mechanism so that the cells are killed in stressed environments instead of adapting.
Prostate Cancer Canada Network (PCCN)
The Prostate Cancer Canada Network (PCCN) is comprised of over 70 prostate cancer support groups from coast to coast. These groups provide services at the grass roots level, through monthly peer meetings, special educational events, outreach programs and presentations to service clubs, community health fairs and more
The Discovery Grants program will build on the success of the existing Pilot Grant program. The goal will be to support researchers in generating preliminary data in prostate cancer research. The Discovery Grant program will facilitate project support for junior investigators, allow more established investigators to pursue new important directions, and allow applications from all areas of prostate cancer research.
Clinical Trials Initiative
The Clinical Trials Initiative will support clinical trials by utilizing existing clinical trial structure and building in a related science component, while also leveraging partnerships.
Targeted Request for Applications (Targeted RFP)
The Targeted Request for Applications (Targeted RFP) initiative will allow emerging priorities and opportunities to be addressed. Programs will be launched that will answer specific identified questions in prostate cancer that may be in areas such as prevention, imaging, survivorship, biomarkers, etc. The focus of the new targeted programs will be recommended by the Research Advisory Council following consultation with key members of the prostate cancer research community in Canada.
Integrated Navigation and Care Service
The goal of the Integrated Navigation and Care Service is to create an extensive navigation service to help men and their caregivers steer their way through Canada's healthcare system and the prostate cancer experience. A highlight of the program will be a phone support service for men and their caregivers to access information and support.
A Survivorship Action Partnership (ASAP)
A Survivorship Action Partnership (ASAP) is a program that helps improve the lives of prostate cancer survivors and their partners, caregivers and family members across Canada. Programs funded will provide information and resources on a variety of topics, such as physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
Health and Education
Prostate Cancer Canada will create a comprehensive suite of prostate cancer educational materials to help change knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around prostate cancer. The development of health education materials will occur in sections, with each stage building on the previous one through continual evaluation and updates.