Prostate Cancer Foundation


Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), formerly known as CaP CURE, is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research . Its goal is to discover better treatments and a cure for recurrent prostate cancer (cite Fortune Magazine Vol. 150, No. 11, p. 92).

Founded in 1993, PCF has raised $350 million to date for research and provided funding for more than 1,500 research projects at nearly 200 institutions worldwide (cite About PCF website, dated 6/10/08).

History

The Prostate Cancer Foundation’s chairman, Michael Milken, formed the organization following his personal battle with prostate cancer. After being diagnosed with a severe form of prostate cancer, Milken traveled to many different specialists in the field. Citing a major lack of funding for prostate cancer research and roadblocks that existed within the grant application process, Milken created the PCF to spur both private and government support in the field of research and awareness.

Innovations in Grants

The Prostate Cancer Foundation has significantly streamlined the grant making process in order to make research funding more readily available. The PCF’s grant giving model “is to stimulate research by drastically cutting the wait time for grant money, to flood the field with fast cash, to fund therapy-driven ideas rather than basic science, to hold researchers accountable for results and to demand collaboration across disciplines and among institutions, private industry, and academia” (cite Fortune magazine p. 94).

The Prostate Cancer Foundation also developed another innovative requirement: all PCF grant recipients must share their work within one year of receiving their grant. While many scientists balked initially at the idea of presenting their work, sometimes even before publishing, the lack of grant-giving sources made the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s grants popular. After the first year, the number of requests for grants soared and it became a badge of honor to receive a PCF grant (cite Fortune Magazine). Today, many other foundations have copied their grant giving model after the PCF’s model. This unique stipulation, forcing the sharing of data, has encouraged scientific cooperation and accelerated discovery.

Achievements

• Development of genetic testing of men at highest risk of prostate cancer;

• Development of vaccines that harness the body's immune system to kill prostate cancer cells;

• Development of gene therapy approaches to selectively eliminate prostate cancer cells;

• Identification of the genetic changes that may cause prostate cells to become cancerous;

• Research into stopping the production or function of growth factors that help cancer cells grow;

• Research into stopping the development of blood vessels that feed cancer cells, a process known as anti-angiogenesis;

• Determination of the structure of the prostate cell androgen receptor, which is responsible for the growth of both normal and cancerous prostate cells;

• Identification of prostate cell surface markers that can be targeted to destroy cancer cells; and

• Development of analytical methods that identify the proteins in blood or the prostate that correlate to treatment effect or behavior of the cancer cell, a method known as proteomic pattern recognition

Criticism

Since its inception, the Prostate Cancer Foundation has focused primarily on funding basic and translational research centered on developing new diagnostics and treatments for advanced cases of prostate cancer. Some prostate cancer advocates would like to see more grants go to patient and family support groups nationally, and to research concerning early detection and prevention.

References

Fortune Magazine Vol 150, No. 11, "Beating Cancer"

External links

* [http://www.pcf.org Prostate Cancer Foundation] - homepage


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