Dr. Scott Tagawa, the Richard A. Stratton Associate Professor in Hematology and Oncology, is investigating an experimental therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer with funding from the Department of Defense (DoD) and Prostate Cancer Foundation. As an awardee and co-Principal Investigator on the 3-year $1 million dollar grant, Dr. Tagawa continues work with a collaborative national consortium comprised of 13 leading academic medical centers that are focused on clinical and translational prostate cancer research. The $1 million grant from the DoD will support Dr. Tagawa; Dr. Neil Bander, the Bernard and Josephine Chaus Professor of Urological Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine; and Dr. Himisha Beltran at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The experimental treatment being utilized by the investigators employs targeted radionuclide therapy combining a radioactive atom with a molecule that aims to seek and destroy cancer cells. Specifically, it targets a protein known as prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) that is present in 85 to 90 percent of prostate cancers. This therapy is primarily being studied for resistant prostate cancer that has spread and/or has not responded to hormonal therapy. Dr. Tagawa hopes that this ongoing research will ultimately lead to a better understanding of why some patients/tumors do or do not respond well to a new treatment for prostate cancer. He also hopes the treatment will be approved in the next one to three years.