Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) Video Script
Virgil H. Simons, Consumer, Integration Panel Member, The Prostate Net: "The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes, but in viewing with [having] new eyes." [graphic of quote by Marcel Proust] I think in the context of research funding under intense pressure, we really have to go beyond the way we've looked at that landscape in nontraditional ways and find a way to be much more creative in what we fund and how we do it.
[graphic of video title: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, PROSTATE CANCER RESEARCH PROGRAM, INNOVATIVE MINDS IN PROSTATE CANCER TODAY with logo]
Janet R. Harris, PhD, RN, Colonel, U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Director, CDMRP: The central theme of the Prostate Cancer Research Program is innovation. [graphic: INNOVATION] We're looking for highly innovative ideas that are going to move the field forward more quickly because we want to find solutions for those individuals who are suffering from this disease.
Gail S. Prins, PhD, Integration Panel Member, University of Illinois at Chicago: We like projects that are considered high risk, high gain. These are projects that are typically shied away from with other funding mechanisms and the PCRP has embraced them.
Howard R. Soule, PhD, Integration Panel Member, Prostate Cancer Foundation: A fresh idea from a young investigator can be rapidly funded and tested quickly, or a more mature idea can gain funding for longer term research, so it's very evolutionary in its flexibility to plan new ways to fund research.
Jean B. deKernion, MD, Integration Panel Member, University of California Los Angeles: One of the major sources of funding now, one of the major funding mechanisms, is hypothesis development or Idea development. This concept is based on the strength of the hypothesis presented, the strength of the investigator, of the institutional commitments, and of the feasibility so that we can concentrate on innovative things that probably wouldn't be funded by other mechanisms.
A. Oliver Sartor, MD, Integration Panel Member, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: I think this program stands out, in part, because it's been willing to take risks. It's not just the established investigators, it's trying to get new investigators into the field. It's not just ideas that have been hashed and re-hashed, it's novel ideas and funding innovation with a high priority. I think this program is unique for those reasons.
[graphic transition: TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION] Soule: The impact of the Prostate Cancer Research Program has been multifaceted. It has brought new and young as well as seasoned investigators into the field from different disciplines. It has mobilized clinical investigators into consortia. It has helped to draw the best and brightest into the field and has been very successful on all counts.
Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, Principal Investigator, University of Cincinnati: I was a basic scientist working in cancer research until I had the opportunity to work with the DoD Prostate Cancer program, and that has transformed me, and now I would qualify myself as a translational researcher mainly working on areas related to the etiology of prostate cancer, trying to find treatments, and also maybe improve quality of life of patients.
Marva Price, DrPH, RN, Principal Investigator, Duke University: I started out with the Prostate Cancer Research Program with a mentor award in screening. I'm particularly interested in really trying to look at why men might get screened or why might they not choose to get screened. Also, for the collaborative undergraduate award, I can actually bring young nursing students in and get them started early in doing a lot about prostate cancer screening and health disparities.
Prins: We have levels at predoctoral, postdoctoral, physician-trainee during the fellowship years, we have multiple levels of funding opportunities for trainees directing them into prostate cancer research so that they can focus on this throughout their careers.
Timothy L. Ratliff, PhD, Integration Panel Member, University of Iowa: The Department of Defense funding program is really committed to funding young scientists and bringing in scientists who have been outside the field but have expertise that's needed within the prostate cancer arena, and I think that's helped tremendously in bringing more people into prostate cancer research.
Part 2 - Collaborations & Consumer Involvement
[graphic transition: FOSTERING COLLABORATION]
Soule: Team science has been promoted through different forms of consortia. The Emory University consortium brought together investigators from around the world to study the lethal phenotype of prostate cancer.
Leo Giambarresi, PhD, Prostate Cancer Program Manager, CDMRP, USAMRMC: This being the Army and all, we asked the question, well why can't we set up a Manhattan Project for prostate cancer? And from that beginning, from those thoughts was developed our research consortia. They came together in a virtual lab via video teleconference and shared their data in real-time, and that really stimulated progress.
Ratliff: It takes lab findings and translates those to the clinic and by doing that it requires the expertise of many different people and it brings those people together to make it happen.
[graphic transition: ACCELERATING CLINICAL TRIALS] Soule: The clinical trial consortium, being managed out of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is putting together clinical trials in major centers throughout the nation in an accelerated and coordinated way.
Howard I. Scher, MD, Principal Investigator, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: The innovation of the consortium is that it actually supports the infrastructure and recognizes that there's considerable time, effort, and cost in the design, development, implementation, and conduct of the clinical trials.
Sartor: The top centers in the country have all come together to perform clinical trials-something that I think is very important and would not have been done without this program.
Scher: In the past year we have activated 18 clinical trials amongst a group of 8, now 10, elite institutions with extensive experience in the field. [graphic list: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Duke University; Johns Hopkins University; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; Oregon Health and Science University; University of California, San Francisco; University of Michigan; University of Washington; University of Wisconsin, Madison] This type of collaboration, this speed of implementation, is frankly unparalleled.
Soule: The clinical trials consortium is a tremendous step forward in the way clinical trialists work with each other from center to center. It's standardized, coordinated, and is running at a pace that far exceeds any clinical development activity we've ever seen.
[graphic transition: CONSUMER INVOLVEMENT]
Harris: Consumer participation is a hallmark of the Prostate Cancer Research Program. Consumers serve at both tiers of review-the scientific peer review as well as programmatic review where funding decisions are made. Over 150 consumers have sat side-by-side with our scientists and clinicians at both peer and programmatic review.
Wendell Van Auken, Consumer, Integration Panel Member, Prostate Cancer Research Advocates of the University of California, San Francisco: The DoD involves consumers as part of the research allocation plan in order to bring a perspective of real people who have suffered from the disease or are dealing with the disease and to try to bring a perspective of somebody who knows what it's like to go through treatments, knows what it's like to interact with the medical establishment.
deKernion: The consumer, after all, is a person who has experienced the problem themselves and who has an understanding of what it takes to endure treatment and what the implications of treatment are, and it gives them a very special view on how we should approach the problem of treating cancer.
James E. Williams, Consumer, Integration Panel Member, Intercultural Cancer Council: We as prostate cancer survivors have a sense of urgency because we are dealing with men who have to deal with this disease, and we know the importance of the research that's needed in prevention and also in treatment so we can get ahead of the disease, and so that sense of urgency coming to the program and that liaison with the consumer brings a lot of power to the research program.
Part 3 - Health Disparities, Sharing Ideas & Progress
[graphic transition: ELIMINATING HEALTH DISPARITIES]
Prins: Another aspect of the PCRP that sets it apart from all other funding opportunities is its emphasis on health disparity. On identifying the factors that contribute to health disparity within the field of prostate cancer research, but also within the disease.
Simons: The PCRP program has probably been the most effective of all of the government-funded programs in being able to come up with unique and innovative approaches to the problem. They've funded a whole spectrum of modalities that have really encouraged minority-oriented investigators to really find a home in terms of their research applications.
deKernion: For instance, we have summer student awards that now are taking students from minority colleges bringing them into the big names, so to speak, places. Getting them the mentors that can get them started. The other one that we have is the collaborative research programs in which a small minority-based college, which doesn't have huge resources, can link with a very large strong institution and build up their research programs, build up their research faculty, allow them to compete effectively for grants. [graphic of collaborations: Emory University/Clark Atlanta University; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute/Florida A&M University; Tulane University/Xavier University; Johns Hopkins University/Shaw University; Vanderbilt University/Meharry Medical College]
Williams: The philosophy with the DoD in looking for new roads and new avenues for research, for looking for men and woman who will come into the field with a new slant on that research, and to give priority to the historical black universities and minority institutes, I think will be key in finding a cure for this disease.
[graphic transition: PCRP IMPaCT MEETING SHARING IDEAS]
Harris: The goal of the IMPaCT Meeting is to bring many people together from different perspectives so that we can continue to work on the problem of prostate cancer.
Prins: It is very important to highlight what the PCRP has been doing for the past 10 years. It's important to see the advances in prostate cancer research irrespective of the PCRP. It's important to bring the investigators together so that we can see what we have done and what others have done within the DoD within this particular funding opportunity. Simons: I think if we look at the necessity that's being thrust upon us again by funding constraints, the whole concept of sharing of research data is going to become more and more important. We're going to have to be collaborative in our work, we're going to have to be sharing in our data, in order to be able to build upon the successes there and be able to make more successes in the future.
Prins: It's also very, very important to make everyone aware of the issues of prostate cancer. The issues of how many men have it, how many men died from it, how there are health disparity issues.
Harris: We want to bring together all of our collective minds so that we can help find solutions for those individuals.
[graphic transition: A DECADE OF EXCELLENCE]
Sartor: The program has had an extraordinary impact on prostate cancer research since its inception. A decade ago, prostate cancer research was very poorly funded and today there is not only substantial funding opportunities but real research that is making a difference. This is tangible not only in the new drugs that have been approved but also in the basic biology of the disease that we have a better understanding of now.
Harris: The Prostate Cancer Research Program has made significant contributions over the last 10 years as they have worked to bring individuals together and have them work collaboratively on overarching problems, such as what is occurring in our research consortia.
As we look to the future, we want to find ways to continue to accelerate that process through translational research or other mechanisms, because ultimately, we want to conquer prostate cancer and put ourselves out of business.
[graphic: IMPaCT Meeting logo, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command logo]