Prostate cancer is diagnosed more than any other type of cancer in men and is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in males. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is typically the first-line treatment for metastatic prostate cancer, but, ultimately, the cancer becomes resistant. This form of the disease is called castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and is currently incurable.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center scientist Chengfei Liu has been unrelenting in his pursuit to find out why CRPC evolves to become drug resistant. He recently earned a highly-coveted $2 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to further his research on CRPC.
“Dr. Liu is the first early stage cancer investigator to win the R37 award at UC Davis,” UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Primo “Lucky” Lara Jr. said. “This award will help him further develop his career and his research, while making important contributions to our understanding of what’s driving resistant prostate cancer.”
Liu has extensive expertise in clinical oncology and prostate cancer research. Specifically, he has learned that by blocking a defective protein pathway, treatment-resistant prostate cancer cells can become vulnerable to standard-of-care therapies such as the drug enzalutamide.
“I’m pleased and honored to receive the R37 award and to continue progress on key pathways that are controlling prostate cancer drug resistance,” Liu said. “This gives hope to finding new therapeutic targets that will have a meaningful impact on patients diagnosed with CRPC.”
Liu will begin his R37 award on July 1. He will serve as the principal investigator, supported by several collaborators, including Christopher P. Evans, professor and chair of the Department of Urologic Surgery, Mamta Parikh, assistant professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Brett S. Phinney, director of UC Davis Genome Center Proteomics Core, and Blythe P Durbin-Johnson, biostatistician at the Department of Public Health Sciences.