2021 Developmental Research Program 
                              Awarded Projects

DRP 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 Developmental Research 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.

Evi Giannakakou, PhD

Development of Selective AR-V7 Small Molecule Inhibitors for Pca Therapy


Pharmacologic inhibition of AR-V7 will be a valuable therapeutic strategy for patients with mCRPC. Our overall aim is to investigate the mechanism of action and determine the therapeutic potential of selective AR-V7 inhibitors in vitro and in vivo. 

Specific Aims:

  1. Perform medicinal chemistry for lead compound optimization and determine compound mechanism of action.

  2. Investigate compound in vivo activity in CRPC xenografts and established models of enzalutamide-resistance.

Tan Ince, MD, PhD

A Versatile Patient Derived Prostate Cancer Cell Culture System

Specific Aims:

  1. Establishing matching normal, tumor, and stromal prostate cultures.
  2. Characterization of patient derived prostate cultures.

Xiaojing Ma, PhD

Developing a Novel Genetically Engineered Mouse Model of Prostate Cancer


Beyond promoting established PCa growth and metastasis, dysregulated UBR5 expression may play a strong role in the transformation and malignant development of the normal prostate. 

Specific Aim:

To develop a novel genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM) of UBR5-driven prostate cancer. This model will be based the loss of function of the tumor suppressor Pten together with a gain of UBR5 expression.

Ravi Sharaf, MD

Development of a Pan-Ethnicity Polygenic Risk Score for Prostate Cancer


The application of avail able statistical methods, in combination with prostate cancer PRS derivation in a population with ade quate minority population sample size, will mitigate the significant prostate-cancer PRS population port ability problems and generate a prostate cancer PRS applicable to a Black-race population. 

Specific Aims:

  1. Assessment of multi-ethnic prostate cancer PRSs 

  2. Systematic Comparison of Correction Methods 

  3. Inquiry of Population-Specific Mitigation Strategies