The Prostate Cancer Foundation Team Science TACTICAL Awards - Howard Soule
April 30, 2022
One of PCF’s goals is to support transformational prostate cancer research to accelerate progress towards the reduction of death and suffering due to recurrent or advanced prostate cancer. The PCF does this through funding cross-disciplinary teams of investigators in strategic areas through our Challenge Awards and awards such as this new TACTICAL campaign being discussed here.
Howard R. Soule, Ph.D., Executive Vice President & Chief Science Officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Howard Soule is also a Member of the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program Integration Panel.
Charles J. Ryan, MD, the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), the world’s leading philanthropic organization dedicated to funding life-saving prostate cancer research. Charles J. Ryan is an internationally recognized genitourinary (GU) oncologist with expertise in the biology and treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Dr. Ryan joined the PCF from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he served as Director of the Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation Division in the Department of Medicine. He also served as Associate Director for Clinical Research in the Masonic Cancer Center and held the B.J. Kennedy Chair in Clinical Medical Oncology.
Charles Ryan: Hello, PCF Community. We're joining you via video today to make a big announcement about a new type of award. It's a team science award called the PCF TACTICAL Awards, and it's going to be part of a broader TACTICAL Campaign that you're going to be hearing more about in the future. TACTICAL, by the way, is an acronym and it stands for therapy acceleration to intercept cancer lethality. And Howard, good to see you. Let's talk a little bit about team science and the PCF. It's so important to who we are and what we do. How does this award fit into that grand scheme?
Howard Soule: Thank you, Chuck. It's a pleasure to share are this really exciting opportunity with the field today. Thank you for the initial fundraising for this new campaign. It's just tremendously exciting. And I think the field will be very excited to learn about this as well. So if we go back in history and ask, "Where did we make the biggest impact?" We made huge impact on patient treatment through our team science awards that really helped lay the groundwork for medications like enzalutamide and abiraterone. And hopefully for many, many more in the future. Lots of supportive care research have benefited patients, really a lot.
What we're doing here is shifting to a larger format, more like our prostate cancer dream team. So this is going to be large teams that are transdisciplinary and are going to address issues of treatment resistance. And even before that, intercepting treatment resistance as the title of the award TACTICAL implies. We're hoping to receive amazing ideas from the field, and it's always been our modus operandi, as most of you know, that we don't say we want awards in this area. But there are a few topics that are worth strong consideration, such as new mechanisms for inducing cancer cell death, with some new bio technologies, including cellular and gene therapies, especially targeting currently un-druggable transcription factors.
So many pathways we understand due to great basic science, but the pharmacology of these potential cancer therapies are complicated due to the inability to drug them, currently. We'd like to see that change. We'd like to see upfront treatments that intercept lethal cancer and last but not least, we're interested in therapy discovery that includes diverse and underserved populations in our society, but that's just the tip of the iceberg, Chuck. We're really hoping that we're going to be amazed at other ideas and topics that people bring forward, will help patients in the near term.
Charles Ryan: Well said. So our North Star in this whole project, and I think that you touched on it a little bit. Our hope is that this rolls out as a campaign that comes out over many years, that this is the beginning of a big effort. But the North Star here is new therapy. And we want investigators to be thinking about new therapy. And I don't think we've ever been in a more exciting time around new therapies. And I say this because what we are beginning to see in oncology in general, and in prostate cancer specifically, is new types of therapy delivery come to the fore, targeted therapies, hormonal therapies, cellular therapies, radioligand therapies.
So we don't know what's the next big thing, but we also know that all of those approaches can be refined even further, and so we'll leave it to the investigators. We've got the brightest minds in the world out there thinking about these challenges and these problems. And it's our job to help set the table for those conversations and to ensure that they have the funding to let their ideas make it into the clinic. And that's really the North Star, new therapies here, so really looking forward to that. Want to talk a little bit about the logistics?
Howard Soule: There are a couple of other aspects that are worth mentioning, Chuck. One is, we want the young investigators that are a part of this. We want the leadership of the senior folks. These are big awards and require a lot of experience in coordination of team science, but we want to make sure that the young investigators are more than a name on an application. So we'll be looking for those applications that really give a serious and committed responsibility to the young investigators. We also want people to know that we will allow for the first time, a blanket 10% indirect to the institution, which should make a lot of deans breathe a little bit easier going forward.
Charles Ryan: All right, well, that's terrific detail. And our goal, we're eagerly awaiting to see what type types of applications we get, but we are poised to fund three of them this academic year. And it could be less, it could be more, we'll see what the applications bring.
Howard Soule: So just to be clear, that's three, five to $10 million team science awards, or as we're calling them now TACTICAL awards.
Charles Ryan: Right. And this will be part of, we hope, the first step of the TACTICAL campaign, which you'll be hearing more about. All right, Howard, this sounds really exciting. It's really a big part of what PCF's moving towards, the North Star of new therapies. Our patients need it. Our scientific community is ready to deliver it, and we're so excited to be the community that can help deliver these new approaches. So thanks for your time, Howard. And if you have any questions, anybody out there, you know who to contact, Howard.
Howard Soule: Thanks, Chuck.
Charles Ryan: Take care.