Elisabeth Heath, M.D., FACP, receives 2020 Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge Award

Congratulations to Elisabeth Heath, M.D., FACP, associate center director of Translational Sciences and leader of the Genitourinary Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos Cancer Institute and professor at Wayne State School of Medicine for receiving the 2020 Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Challenge Award. Dr. Heath serves as principal investigator, alongside Peter Nelson, M.D. of the University of Washington, on the project titled PC-REACTR: A Multidimensional Tumor Atlas to Overcome Prostate Cancer Therapy Resistance. Wael Sakr, M.D., member of the Genitourinary Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos Cancer Institute and Chairman of the Pathology Department at Wayne State School of Medicine serves as a co-investigator.

Through this project, a team of investigators will create a multidimensional tumor atlas to investigate tumor biology and predict improved treatment combinations that can overcome treatment resistance.

“We’ve made great progress in treatments for metastatic prostate cancer, but resistance to current therapies and disease progression inevitably happens,” Dr. Heath said. “We need to get a better understanding of the variability and complexity of advanced prostate cancer so we can create new treatment strategies that will overcome resistance and lead to better tumor control for our patients. This atlas will create a broader, more comprehensive view of cases and give us the ability to devise new treatment combinations.”

The tumor atlas will contain data on genomic alterations, gene expression and imaging of the tumor microenvironment over time in patients treated with standard of care and emerging therapeutics for advanced prostate cancer. This “4-D” information will be used in mathematical models to identify the mechanisms by which prostate cancer becomes drug-resistant and to predict new treatment approaches that can overcome resistance. These models will aid in the design of clinical trials directed toward overcoming therapy resistance for standard and experimental treatment modalities. The atlas will be made available as an open-access resource for the scientific community.

About the PCF Challenge Awards

PCF Challenge Awards fund international, multi-institutional, cross-disciplinary teams of investigators conducting highly innovative research with the greatest potential for accelerating new and improved treatments for advanced prostate cancer. Following a rigorous peer-review process that assessed each project’s scientific merit and potential patient impact, 12 highly coveted PCF Challenge Awards totaling $11 million were granted to teams at some of the world’s leading cancer research institutions.

Elisabeth Heath, M.D., FACP