DETROIT, May 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute has competed and been selected by scientific peers for a coveted four-year grant renewal from the Department of Defense to continue membership in the prestigious Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC) program.
Elisabeth Heath, MD, FACP, will direct Karmanos' involvement in the consortium. Dr. Heath is leader of the Genitourinary Oncology Multidisciplinary Team, associate center director of Translational Sciences, and the Patricia C. and E. Jan Hartmann Endowed Chair for Prostate Cancer Research at Karmanos and Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM).
The Prostate Cancer Clinical Consortium Award is a peer-reviewed, competitive grant. Peers include scientific researchers at universities and cancer centers across the nation. This year, only seven sites were funded, down from 11 sites in 2013. Karmanos has been part of the consortium since 2008. The budget amount for the new four-year grant is $1,232,000.
Dr. Heath's co-principal investigator is Ulka Vaishampayan, M.D., director of the Eisenberg Center for Translational Therapeutics and co-investigators are Isaac Powell, M.D. and Lance Heilbrun, Ph.D., of Karmanos and WSU SOM.
"African-American men face numerous socioeconomic, religious and health barriers to participating in clinical trial-based therapy," Dr. Heath said. "By increasing trial opportunities and resources within an accessible health care system located in a predominantly African-American community, such as Detroit, my colleagues and I are striving to improve clinical trial access and overcome some of the other potential barriers to clinical trial enrollment for African Americans.
"Being a member of the PCCTC will have a major impact on prostate cancer clinical trials management at Karmanos because we will have access to diverse agents for treatment and will be able to develop clinical trials that focus on the effects of treatment on the biology of men with high-risk or more aggressive disease."
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among males in the United States, according to researchers. African-American men have 1.6-times greater prostate cancer incidence and a 2.4-fold higher mortality rate from prostate cancer relative to Caucasian men. They often present with higher prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, higher grade disease, and more advanced disease.
Although the reasons for these disparities are not well understood, Karmanos researchers are actively studying potential contributors, including socioeconomic factors hindering access to prostate screening and appropriate medical treatment, and racial differences in cancer biology. Despite the higher incidence of prostate cancer in African-American men nationwide, the proportion of those patients accrued to prostate cancer clinical trials remains disproportionately low.
"We want to fully encourage African-American men who have prostate cancer to consider taking part in a clinical trial," Dr. Heath said. "Many times, clinical trials provide the best options for patients who have exhausted other therapeutic avenues. Clinical trials also provide treatment that's as good as standard of care. And, by participating in a clinical trial, African-American cancer patients can pave the way for the development of therapies that will benefit future prostate cancer patients."
The Prostate Cancer Clinical Consortium Award mechanism was established in 2005 to support the collaborations and resources necessary to rapidly execute Phase II or Phase I/II clinical trials of therapeutic agents or approaches for the management or treatment of prostate cancer. The overarching goal of the award is to combine the efforts of leading investigators to bring to market novel therapeutic interventions that will ultimately decrease the overall impact of prostate cancer.
Karmanos' grant application number is PC161031.
About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Located in mid-town Detroit, Michigan, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a subsidiary of McLaren Health Care, is one of 47 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Karmanos is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 physicians and researchers on faculty at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. Its long-term partnership with the WSU School of Medicine enhances the collaboration of critical research and academics related to cancer care. Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Institute's president and chief executive officer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to www.karmanos.org.
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SOURCE Karmanos Cancer Institute