2021 Career Enhancement Program

                                 Awarded Projects

CEP Mission

By training junior faculty to succeed in clinical and translational prostate cancer research, the SPORE will develop leaders of the field in prostate cancer risk, prevention, pathogenesis, prognosis, and treatment. With the innovation of these early stage investigators, the SPORE will establish new approaches to treating prostate cancer, which will result in improved patient survival and quality of life.

The Career Enhancement Program provides seed funding for innovative translational research pilot projects that address key challenge areas in prostate cancer research.  By funding research from its inception, we are able to develop the careers of early stage investigators committed to prostate cancer.

Nicholas Brady, PhD

Targeting Drivers of Tumor Heterogeneity to Block the Progression to Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer


POU2F3 facilitates the progression to NEPC and represents a potential biomarker to identify patients who are likely to develop resistance to AR-targeted therapies.

Specific Aims:

  1. Determine the causality of POU2F3 as a driver of CRPC to NEPC transition.

  2. Evaluate the sensitivity of POU2F3-expressing cells to AR-targeted therapy.

Kevin Kensler, ScD

Comorbidity burden and racial disparities in prostate cancer

Project Goal:

To utilize the SEER-Medicare linked database to further understand the potential role of comorbidities in racial/ethnic differences in localized prostate cancer outcomes as well as the use of active surveillance. 

Specific Aims:

  1. Assess racial/ethnic variation in comorbidity burden and survival among older patients with localized prostate cancer in SEER-Medicare.

  2. Examine racial/ethnic variation in comorbidity burden and use of active surveillance for men with low-risk or favorable intermediate-risk localized prostate cancer in SEER-Medicare.

  3. Explore racial/ethnic variation in comorbidity burden among prostate cancer patients in New York City in relation to neighborhood social determinants of health.

Giuseppe Galletti, MD, PhD

Development of CTC-based molecular biomarkers of clinical response to PSMA-targeted radionuclide therapies


patients with high BRCA-loss signature score assessed in CTCs will achieve a better clinical response to PSMA-TRTs. Furthermore, we hypothesize that transcriptomic analysis of CTCs will reveal additional molecular pathways associated with clinical response to PSMA-TRTs.

Specific Aims:

  1. To determine the association between BRCA-loss signature and clinical response to PSMA-TRTs.

  2. To perform untargeted CTC transcriptomic analysis to identify additional molecular pathways associated with response/resistance to PSMA-TRTs.

Ariel Marscicano, MD


Developing a translational platform for therapeutic delivery of image-guided prostate stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) in orthotopic prostate cancer models

Project Goal:

In this proposal we aim to develop and credential a translational research tool that delivers image-guided prostate SBRT that is a dosimetrically accurate and clinically relevant therapeutic radiation dose. 

Specific Aims:

  1. To evaluate if advanced imaging (cone-beam CT) on the small animal radiation research platform (SARRP) facilitates target delineation of orthotopic prostate tumors and identification of organs-at-risk (bladder, rectum, bowel) to facilitate image-guided SBRT. 

  2. To measure radiation dosimetry to therapeutically irradiated orthotopic prostate tumors and adjacent normal tissues and organs (bladder, rectum, bowel) in mice undergoing image-guided prostate SBRT 

  3. To monitor therapeutic response to image-guided SBRT using volumetric/anatomic (MRI) and bioluminescence imaging (BLI) in irradiated and non-irradiated orthotopic tumors.