WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have announced a new $50-million precision medicine initiative that aims to expand prostate cancer clinical research among veterans and speed the development of new treatment options and cures for prostate cancer patients.
The agreement signed today is the first partnership between PCF and the VA, and it comes at a time when an estimated 12,000 veterans each year are diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the most frequently diagnosed cancer among veterans. In particular, African-Americans are 64 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to any other race or ethnicity and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.
"Our goal is to increase our scientific understanding of prostate cancer among veterans and to kick-start the development of precision medicine treatments for them, as well as the general population. This agreement will open new doors for the research community to work with veterans facing a life threatening disease and ultimately reduce the disease burden on America's veterans," said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and chief executive officer, PCF.
Specifically, the goals of the PCF – VA partnership are to:
- Increase the number of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) investigators applying to PCF for funding;
- Increase the number of VHA facilities involved in precision medicine/prostate cancer clinical trials;
- Increase the number of veterans enrolled in studies, veteran specimens, or data used in studies as well as increase the number of minorities enrolled in PCF studies; and
- Increase the number of early career scientists working on prostate cancer research.
"Fighting and treating cancer among our Veterans is a team effort, which is why this Launch Pad event coupled with these partnerships so important," said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. "To effectively serve our Veterans, we need government, corporate and non-profit organizations working together. We are truly grateful to the Prostate Cancer Foundation for this important show of support. Our work together will save Veterans' lives."
The greatest limitation on the pace of progress is the lack of access to data. The VA possesses one of the largest data sets of patients in existence, with more than 9 million records. As part of this collaborative agreement, the VA will make the anonymized data available to researchers, which will help save lives and speed the progress to a cancer-free future.
Precision oncology medicine is a transformative model of healthcare that uses information in the DNA code of each tumor to predict the optimal course of treatment, including novel investigational therapies, for individual patients. Precision oncology advancements are a cornerstone of Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot program.
"This partnership represents a sustained pledge from PCF and the VA to improve the health of our veterans while also advancing precision medicine by funding programs that will enable young researchers access to the resources they need to develop new treatments for prostate cancer," said Bruce Montgomery, clinical director of genitourinary medical oncology at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and co-leader of the PCF-VA initiative.
The PCF – VA agreement was signed as part of Launch Pad: Pathways to InnoVAtion, a day-long meeting of scientists, physicians and public and private leaders, including executives of major biopharmaceutical companies, foundations and others, to discuss the latest innovations in precision oncology and explore ways to improve cancer screening, treatment and cures.
About the Prostate Cancer Foundation
The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world's leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer research. Founded in 1993, PCF has raised more than $660 million and provided funding to more than 2,000 research programs at more than 200 cancer centers and universities. The PCF global research enterprise now extends to 19 countries. PCF advocates for greater awareness of prostate cancer and more efficient investment of governmental research funds for transformational cancer research. For more information, visit www.pcf.org. Connect with PCF: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn
SOURCE Prostate Cancer Foundation