Groundbreaking studies take aim at disparities and advanced disease.

Groundbreaking studies take aim at disparities and advanced disease.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) has awarded grants totaling more than $2.3 million to Dana-Farber researchers exploring new treatment approaches and ways to reduce disparities in prostate cancer.

Christina Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH, received two PCF awards for her research on exercise to mitigate the negative effects of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a standard treatment for intermediate or advanced prostate cancer. With 2022 Stupski Foundation-PCF Challenge Award funding, she will conduct a first-of-its-kind clinical trial to determine if multicomponent exercise can improve or prevent frailty, sarcopenia, and disease progression in metastatic prostate cancer patients receiving ADT.

Dieli-Conwright’s 2021 PCF-Pfizer Health Equity Challenge Award will support a pivotal multicenter clinical trial to assess whether a culturally tailored, home-based exercise program can counteract the negative cardiovascular effects of ADT and improve outcomes in Black patients, who are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease-related death than non-Hispanic white patients receiving ADT.

Under Dieli-Conwright’s mentorship, Dong-Woo Kang, PhD, will use the 2022 Wild Dunes MGA-PCF Young Investigator Award to conduct the first-ever clinical trial to research the tumor suppressive potential of exercise in Black patients with early stage prostate cancer who are on active surveillance, the preferred management strategy for early, low-risk disease. Black men have a higher risk of developing aggressive disease than white men but have been largely underrepresented in clinical trials. This groundbreaking trial seeks to determine whether aerobic and resistance training can reduce the risk of disease progression in these patients and could lead to a new exercise-based intervention to improve outcomes and help reduce disparities.

Himisha Beltran, MD, was awarded the 2022 Michael & Lori Milken Family Foundation-PCF Challenge Award to build upon her discovery of DLL3, a protein selectively expressed in neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) and in small cell lung cancer. She will study which patients might benefit from a novel DLL3-targeted immunotherapy that has shown promising results in a phase 1 trial and could become the first approved therapy for this rare, lethal form of prostate cancer. Also principal investigator of a team-based PCFTACTICAL Award, Beltran is working to identify novel theranostic agents that work in combination to diagnose and treat NEPC.

Timothy Rebbeck, PhD, principal investigator of the team-based 2022 Movember-PCF VAlor Challenge Award, will explore genetic and non-genetic factors contributing to racial disparities in prostate cancer incidence, aggressiveness, and outcomes among veterans.

“The Prostate Cancer Foundation congratulates the investigators and looks forward with great anticipation to the results of their novel research,” said Howard R. Soule, PhD, PCF executive vice president and chief science officer.

For more stories about the impact of philanthropy at Dana-Farber, please visit

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