New genetics study in metastatic prostate cancer aims to advance precision medicine

Dr. Peter Nelson to lead $1M study funded by Movember Foundation, Prostate Cancer Foundation
Dr. Peter Nelson
Dr. Peter Nelson Fred Hutch file

Dr. Peter Nelson, a researcher in the Human Biology and Public Health Sciences divisions at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, will lead a $1 million Movember Foundation-Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge Award-funded study of metastatic prostate cancer.

Nelson, also a professor of medicine and oncology at the University of Washington, will conduct the project in collaboration with researchers at UW and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The research team will study the genetics of metastatic prostate cancer in an effort to advance precision medicine, or personalized treatment, for the disease.

"Exciting findings that emerged from collaborative work supported by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and others [Stand Up To Cancer and the American Association for Cancer Research] provided key insights implicating DNA-repair processes as important targets in advanced prostate cancer," Nelson said. "We now have the opportunity to translate these findings into the clinic and demonstrate that they improve outcomes."

Successful treatment of prostate cancer can be enhanced by identifying genomic alterations that confer sensitivity to specific treatments. Nelson and team aim to identify and characterize DNA-damage repair-gene alterations that occur in about 20 to 30 percent of prostate tumors. The objectives of their study are to:

  • develop biomarker tests to identify which patients will respond to PARP inhibitors or platinum-based chemotherapy, both FDA-approved treatments;
  • use combination therapies to achieve long-lasting remissions after initial treatment and assess mechanisms of treatment resistance; and
  • conduct population-based screening to identify men who are at an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer based on inherited defects in DNA-repair genes.

Nelson’s team's award is among six new challenge grants totaling nearly $7 million awarded this week by the Movember Foundation and PCF to advance research in metastatic prostate cancer, which remains the leading cause of prostate cancer deaths in the U.S.

Dr. Ross Prentice
Dr. Ross Prentice of Fred Hutch's Public Health Sciences Division is among more than two dozen researchers from the Hutch who will present next week at JSM2015 in Seattle. Fred Hutch file

More than two dozen Hutch researchers to present next week at largest statistical conference in North America

The largest gathering of statisticians in North America will convene next week in Seattle.

The Joint Statistical Meeting (JSM2015), set for Aug. 8-13 at the Washington State Convention Center, will feature academic, government and industry statisticians from the American Statistical Association, International Biometric Society, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, Royal Statistical Society, International Statistical Institute and other organizations. Some 5,000 statisticians are expected to attend.

More than two dozen researchers from Fred Hutch’s Public Health Sciences and Vaccine and Infectious Disease divisions will present work and/or lead discussions, including PHS Division Director Emeritus Dr. Ross Prentice, who will speaking on “Challenges in the Identification and Validation of Surrogate Markers,”

"It is one of the few professional society meetings in which I have been an attendee, and usually a speaker, for almost every year since 1970," he said. "It's a place to make connections ... and engage in updates on a broad range of quantitative topics in study design, conduct and analysis of research studies."

Other speakers from the Hutch will include Dr. Charles Kooperberg, presenting on “Quantification of Multiple Tumor Clones Using Gene Array Data,” Dr.  Li Hsu, speaking on “Shedding Light on the Biology of Complex Diseases Using Cutting-Edge Statistical Methods for Family Data,” Dr. Holly Janes, presenting on “The Challenge in Making Inference About a Biomarker's Predictive Capacity,” and Dr. Ruth Etzioni, presenting on “Limitations of Screening Trials in Developing Cancer Screening Policies.”

Other Hutch researchers participating in JSM2015 include Drs. Sean Wang, Michael Wu, Michael LeBlanc, Ying Qing Chen, Sahar Zangenah, Ying Huang, Yu-Ru Su, Masanao Yajima, Chad He, Charles Cheung, Takumi Saegusa, Peter Gilbert, Su-Ching Chang, Frederick Matsen, Jean deDieu, SoYoung Kim, Ni Zhao, Frederick Matsen, Catherine Tangen, Yanqing Wang and Yichen Cheng. 

Co-sponsored by Fred Hutch (among many other institutions and organizations), the JSM will offer five days of keynote speakers, panel discussions, round-table discussions, invited paper presentations and poster presentations along with many opportunities for professional development, recruitment and socializing. 

Read more about Fred Hutch achievements and accolades.

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