A long-term advocacy priority for PCPC3 is an increase in funding to support the successful research activities of the Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) within the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) — from its current $80 million to $120 million per year.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the second most common cause of male death from cancer. In 2015, according to the American Cancer Society, approximately 220,800 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and an estimated 27,540 will die from it. In addition, there are major population disparities in prostate cancer incidence and mortality, with African American men experiencing 2.5 times greater risk of prostate cancer death compared to Caucasian men.
The PCRP, administered by the CDMRP on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), is one of the world’s pre-eminent funding sources for game-changing prostate cancer research. The program has a long and illustrious history of supporting innovative prostate cancer research that has had an immediate and profound effect on men and their families, from basic bench sciences to translational, Phase III clinical trials.
Unfortunately, funding for PCRP has been flat at just $80 million dollars for the last 10+ years after a budget cut from $85 million in 2005. Each year, inflation eats into this allocation, strangling the prostate cancer research that makes a difference in so many people’s life.
PCPC3 wants prostate cancer patients, caregivers, advocates, and particularly all our members of Congress to understand that this program, despite its limited funding, has been the most efficient and effective source of government-funded research into the fight against prostate cancer. Dollar for dollar, the PCRP has been one of the very best investments that the federal government has ever made in cancer research. We urge that Congress not only continue crucial support for the PCRP, but seriously consider increasing funding in future years to $120 million, bringing it to parity with breast cancer funding, given the similar impact these two cancers have on society.
Since 2005, when the PCRP provided funding to initiate the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC), this consortium has brought together vast scientific and clinical expertise and unique institutional resources from 13 major cancer centers across the nation to work together to design and execute faster, more precise, and more cost-effective clinical testing of new treatments. To date the PCCTC has been key to the initiation of over 201 clinical trials, involving 4,750 prostate cancer patients, which represents nearly 25% of all Phase I and Phase II prostate cancer clinical trials. It helped to advance 10 candidate drugs to phase III clinical trials and three drugs to FDA approval for advanced prostate cancer treatment including:
- Abiraterone acetate (Zytiga®),
- Enzalutamide (Xtandi®), and
- Radium Ra223 dichloride (Xofigo®).
Since 2009, when the PCRP funded the Prostate Cancer Bio-repository Network (PCBN), this network has developed a sizable collection of high-quality human prostate cancer bio-specimens, including multiple tissue microarrays for testing biomarkers associated with various factors such as stage of cancer, prostate cancer progression, racial disparities, and family history. All of these resources are made available to the prostate cancer community for research studies, supporting the PCRP vision to conquer prostate cancer.
The PCRP prioritizes research that will:
- Develop better tools for early detection of clinically relevant disease,
- Distinguish aggressive from indolent disease in men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer,
- Develop effective treatments and address mechanisms of resistance for men with high risk or metastatic prostate cancer,
- Develop strategies to optimize the physical and mental health of men with prostate cancer,
- Include biomarker development, genetics, imaging, mechanisms of resistance and response, survivorship and palliative care, therapy, and tumor and microenvironment biology
The PCRP distinguishes itself from all other governmental funding programs because it seeks to:
- Promote highly innovative, groundbreaking research
- Promote high-impact research with near-term clinical relevance
• Sponsor multidisciplinary, synergistic research
- Fund translational studies to support the fluid transfer of knowledge between bedside and bench
- Invest in research on patient survivorship and quality of life
- Foster the next generation of prostate cancer investigators through mentored research
- Promote research on health disparities in the incidence and mortality of prostate cancer
From its inception in 1997 through 2014 the PCRP has made 2,927 awards. These awards have included funding for research in the areas of: biology, etiology, cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, cancer control, survivorship, scientific modeling systems, and outcomes research.
Each year the program reevaluates its goals and priorities, establishing new award mechanisms as needed. These award mechanisms are fluid, responding to the up to the minute needs of the community. The program awards for 2015 included:
- The Impact Award
- The Health Disparity Research Award
- The Idea Development Award
- Physician Research Training Award
- Postdoctoral Training Award
Prior award mechanisms have included (not a complete list):
- Clinical Consortium Award
- Laboratory–Clinical Transition Award
- Population Science Impact Award
- Clinical Exploration Award
- Prostate Cancer Bio-specimen Resource Site Award
- Bio-marker Development Award
- Synergistic Idea Development
- Exploration–Hypothesis Development Award
- Transformation Impact Award
The PCRP prides itself in moving prostate cancer research forward, not by baby steps, but by leaps and bounds. It is the only federal funding source that will consider earth-shattering research proposals that have the potential to make a large and immediate difference in the lives of men with prostate cancer and their family. It has proven itself able to do this in the past and PCPC3 and its member organizations know that, with the proper funding levels, the PCRP can continue to make a significant difference: the PCRP can indeed help to conquer prostate cancer.
PCPC3 — the patient-centered prostate cancer collaborative coalition — is a group of independent, not-for-profit, patient-centric organizations whose primary goals include the education and support of men diagnosed with prostate cancer, their family members and care-givers, and all men at risk for prostate cancer. For more information about PCPC3, please see the PCPC3 web site.
PCPC3 statements must be approved by 66% or more of the full members of the organization or more before they are placed on our web site. The statement above has been approved by the following members of PCPC3:
- Prostate Advocates Aiding Choices in Treatments (PAACT)
- Prostate Cancer International (PCaI)
- The Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC)
- The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN)
- Us TOO International