Prestigious SPORE Grant to Advance Prostate Cancer Care

Dr. Himisha Beltran

Dr. Himisha Beltran

Weill Cornell Medicine has been awarded a five-year, $11.3 million Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute to improve the detection and treatment of aggressive prostate cancer (PCa). Established in 1992, SPORE grants serve as the cornerstone of the NCI’s efforts to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary translational cancer research.

This SPORE grant — the first ever awarded to Weill Cornell Medicine — will expand an already vibrant basic and translational research program in prostate cancer at Weill Cornell Medicine’s Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center and Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine. In addition, the grant provides yearly funding to support new high-risk and high-reward studies led by Weill Cornell Medicine researchers, as well as a career enhancement program for junior investigators who seek to enter into the field of prostate cancer research.

The five-year, $11.3 million SPORE grant will further advance investigations that span basic, clinical, and translational research in prostate cancer.

Himisha Beltran, MD, Director of Clinical Activities at the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, serves as a co-leader of this important research endeavor.

“The SPORE grant will facilitate collaboration and accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into the clinic,” says Dr. Beltran, who is also an oncologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

“The grant provides the opportunity to build on a program that we’ve been very proud of for many years, and to continue to develop an infrastructure that promotes investigations that span basic science, clinical, and translational research,” says Dr. Beltran.

The Weill Cornell Medicine SPORE grant has four major objectives:

  • Develop accurate biomarkers to assess the risk of PCa disease progression
  • Develop new therapeutic approaches for clinically localized and castrate-resistant prostate cancer that are hypothesis-driven, based on newly acquired knowledge of PCa biology and genomics, and represent a paradigm shift in treatment
  • Leverage existing and expand new infrastructure for the successful translation of pre-clinical studies into the clinic
  • Train the next generation of PCa investigators

A basic scientist and translational clinical investigator will lead each of the following projects:

  • Non-Invasive Clinical Assay for Early Detection of Treatment Resistance in Patients with Metastatic Prostate Cancer
  • Targeting N-Myc and EZH2-Driven Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer
  • Toward Understanding Prostate Cancer Heterogeneity
  • Targeting Genomic Instability in Distinct Subclasses of Prostate Cancer

“This is an amazing accomplishment and a major milestone for Weill Cornell Medicine,” says Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center. “It will provide dedicated support for prostate cancer research that can be leveraged to help develop other types of program projects and grants. We believe this will yield some of the best research at our institution, inspiring our top investigators to consider how their science might be applied to address the challenges of understanding prostate cancer.”

For More Information
Dr. Himisha Beltran | [email protected]