The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Prostate Cancer SPORE aims to focus on finding molecular and other factors associated with the risk of prostate cancer recurrence and progression as well as its response – and resistance – to treatment. In 2002, the NCI awarded Fred Hutch $12.7 million to lead a multi-center, multi-project, five-year investigation into the genetic mechanisms of prostate cancer progression, and most recently in 2018 renewed the SPORE through 2023.
Dr. Pete Nelson is co-director of Core A (Leadership & Administration) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE and co-leader of Project 4 (Clinical Development of Therapeutic Strategies Targeting DNA Damage Repair). Dr. Nelson is a full member of Fred Hutch, a professor in the University of Washington Medical School’s Medical Oncology Division, an adjunct professor in the UW’s Departments of Genome Sciences and Pathology, co-head of the Cancer Center’s Program in Prostate Cancer Research (PPCR), and Director of the Canary Foundation Prostate Cancer Program.
The focus of Dr. Nelson’s current work (in the Nelson Lab at Fred Hutch) involves efforts to understand the process of prostate carcinogenesis with an aim toward developing diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic strategies. The major projects of the Nelson Lab are molecular analysis of therapies for early and late stage prostate carcinoma, characterization of the prostate androgen-response program, analysis of prostate serine protease function in metastatic prostate carcinoma, determining the role of damage responses in the tumor microenvironment that promote cancer growth and resistance to therapy. For more information about the Nelson Lab’s work, visit the Nelson lab site.
Dr. Janet Stanford is a co-director of Core A (Leadership & Administration) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE, a co-leader of Project 1 (Molecular Predictors of Prostate Cancer Progression and Mortality), and co-head of the Program in Prostate Cancer Research (PPCR). Dr. Stanford is a member of Fred Hutch and a research professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. In the early 1990s, Stanford became one of the first Center researchers to focus on prostate cancer and today is recognized worldwide as an expert in the field. Her numerous studies and leadership of the program in prostate cancer research have illuminated many of the environmental, behavioral and genetic factors that can cause the disease. She also helps lead a nationwide research project of more than 2,000 people in more than 300 families exploring why prostate-cancer risk is higher in some families. Understanding the inherited genetic mutations for prostate cancer may provide new clues to help diagnose, treat, cure and even prevent it in future generations.
Dr. Stanford’s main research interests focus on hormonal, environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors that may alter cancer risk, cancer recurrence or progression, and cancer-specific mortality. The role of underlying genetic susceptibility based on rare, and high penetrance mutations as well as more common genetic variants of lower penetrance is a major focus of her research. As a cancer epidemiologist, Dr. Stanford has been involved in the development, implementation, and analyses of research studies of the etiology and progression of several different types of cancer. However, her current concentration is on prostate cancer. The recent completion of two large population-based case-control studies of risk factors for prostate cancer has allowed Dr. Stanford and her research team to examine environmental/lifestyle exposures and genetic polymorphisms in candidate genes in relation to prostate cancer etiology and outcomes.
Joshi Alumkal is co-leader of Project 2 (Targeting Emergent Vulnerabilities in AR-Inactive Prostate Cancer). Dr. Alumkal received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine, completed his Internal Medicine residency training at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and completed his Medical Oncology fellowship training at Johns Hopkins University. He was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at OHSU in 2007 and Molecular and Medical Genetics in 2010. He was named Co-Leader of the OHSU Prostate Cancer Research Program in 2012.Dr. Alumkal is now the Leader of the Prostate/Genitourinary Medical Oncology Section and Associate Division Chief for Basic Research in the Hematology-Oncology Division and Professor with tenure in the Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Alumkal is also a member of the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center and Director of Epigenetic Therapy in the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology. Dr. Alumkal’s main goal is to link laboratory and clinical scientists in order to develop more effective treatments for patients with advanced cancers, including men with prostate cancer whom he treats.
Eva Corey PhD is Co-Director of Core B (Biospecimen and Pathology Core) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE. Dr. Corey is a Research Professor in the UW Medical School’s Department of Urology and Co-Director of GU Cancer Research Laboratory. Her major research interests are investigation of mechanisms of development of advanced prostate cancer, ADT resistance and bone metastasis. She has also been involved in establishment and characterization of prostate cancer patient-derived xenografts and their use in preclinical settings to evaluate efficacy of new treatment modalities for this disease. GU Cancer Laboratory is one of a very few laboratories worldwide with multiple prostate cancer PDXs.
Dr. Mads Daugaard is co-leader of Project 3 (Oncofetal Glycosaminoglycans as Molecular Targets in Prostate Cancer) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE. He is a molecular biologist specialized in tumour-associated stress signaling pathways and tumour targeting systems. He earned his PhD degree from the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, for his studies on heat shock proteins in relation to cancer cell survival mechanisms. After completing his PhD, Dr. Daugaard received a junior fellowship award to continue his work at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre on stress signaling pathways related to DNA damage response mechanisms. In 2010, Dr. Daugaard received a research award from the Danish Cancer Society Scientific Committee to do postdoctoral training in molecular pathology at the BC Cancer Research Centre and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia.
Ruth Etzioni is an affiliate professor of biostatistics and health services at the University of Washington and a member of Fred Hutch. Dr. Etzioni directs Core C (Biostatistics and Analytics Core) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE. Dr. Etzioni and her colleagues were among the first to formally evaluate the test’s ability to distinguish between true cancers and benign conditions. They have concluded that a variation on the PSA test that uses two types of PSA measurements could improve the test’s accuracy for men with borderline-normal total PSA levels, potentially leading to a significant drop in medical costs and complications for this group of men. Etzioni and colleagues have also determined that roughly one-third of older men diagnosed with prostate cancer through the PSA test are “overdiagnosed” with the disease, meaning patients are receiving unnecessary surgeries or other treatments even though the disease isn’t likely to threaten their health. Dr. Etzioni’s work currently focuses on the development and implementation of statistical methods for prostate cancer studies. In the past, she has worked on assessing the efficacy of PSA screening from population studies, estimating the frequency of overdiagnosis associated with PSA, evaluating novel prostate cancer biomarkers, and tracking patterns and outcomes of prostate cancer care. Her work in prostate cancer surveillance is conducted as part of the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET). As leader of the biostatistics core for the Northwest Prostate Cancer SPORE, Dr. Etzioni has developed methods for analyzing immunohistochemical studies, and combining results from microarray experiments, while working with SPORE investigators to select the most appropriate design and analysis approaches for a broad array of studies. She is an affiliate investigator on the Data Management Coordination Center for the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) and continues to work with EDRN statisticians on methods for biomarker development. In addition to these projects, her current interests include modeling the development of resistance to androgen ablation therapy.
Martin Gleave is co-leader of Project 3 (Targeting SEMA3C in Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE, and is a member of the SPORE Executive Committee. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre, the Chief Executive Officer of PC-TRIADD, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Urologic Sciences at UBC, and the BC Leadership Chair in Prostate Cancer Research. Dr. Gleave is a clinician-scientist and urologic surgeon, and his major research focus involves the study of cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating progression of prostate cancer to its lethal stage of androgen independence, and use of this information to develop integrated multimodality therapies that specifically target these mechanisms. Dr. Gleave established a role for clusterin as a cancer-related cell survival protein involved in treatment resistance and developed an inhibitor, designated OGX-011, which improved efficacy of hormone- and chemo-therapies in prostate and other cancer models. He is the scientific founder of OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc.
John Gore is co-director of Core D (Clinical Core) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE, and is an Assistant Professor in the Urology Department at the University of Washington, School of Medicine. He is also co-director of UroSCOAP, a regional urological quality collaborative in Washington State, which aims to improve prostate cancer care regionally. He graduated summa cum laude in chemistry and biology from the University of Minnesota, and earned his MD from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. He completed his general and urologic surgery training at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Subsequently, Dr. Gore was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, training in health services research with a focus on quality of care, quality of life, and advanced econometric methods. He earned his Masters of Science in Health Services (MSHS) from the UCLA School of Public Health. Dr. Gore is one of only a handful of physician-scientists in the United States who are clinically trained in urologic oncology and fellowship trained in Health Services Research. Dr. Gore has focused his research on studying issues of access to care and quality of care for patients with urologic cancers.
Bruce Montgomery is co-leader of Project 4 (Clinical Development of Therapeutic Strategies Targeting DNA Damage Repair) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE. Dr. Montgomery made the switch from laboratory research to patient care and clinical research because he wanted to work with the prostate cancer team at UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). “It was the opportunity to work with the amazing team at in the Program in Prostate Cancer Research, that first attracted me to doing research in prostate cancer and ultimately to doing clinical trials and treating patients,” says Dr. Montgomery. He divides his time between seeing patients at the SCCA Prostate Center and research. He is a medical oncologist, an associate professor at UW Medicine, and an associate member of Fred Hutch. Dr. Montgomery’s clinical expertise includes neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy, and resistance to hormonal and chemotherapy.
Colm Morrissey, PhD is co-director of Core B (Biospecimen and Pathology Core), co-leader of Project 2 (Targeting Emergent Vulnerabilities in AR-Inactive Prostate Cancer) of the PNW Prostate Cancer SPORE and is a member of the SPORE Executive Committee. Dr. Morrissey serves as a research associate professor in the UW Medical School’s department of urology. His research interests include: