2009 Clinician-Scientist Award Recipients

Name of person or group

Dr. Vincent Fradet, MD
Universite Laval, QC
Name of program or research project
Molecular Mechanism of Drug and Dietary Intervention to Prevent Prostate Cancer and Reduce its Progression
Investment and period of investment
$300K from 2009 to 2011
Outline of program or project
There is evidence that the interaction of dietary fat, sex hormones and prostate inflammation can affect the development of prostate cancer. In this study, Dr. Fradet will work with a group of patients on a protocol of “active surveillance”— men who have been diagnosed with early-stage, low-grade prostate cancer that can be monitored over time to determine when treatment is required (if at all) based on the progression of the cancer.
Working with a nutritionist, Dr. Fradet will divide the patients into sub-groups and provide them with a drug commonly used to treat inflammation of the prostate (a condition known as BPH), and/or changes in their dietary intake of fatty acids.
The various combinations will allow for study of the various interactions in a group of men with low-risk disease, and will establish a basis for study on other combinations of drug and diet interventions. It will also help develop tools to better monitor the effects of non-invasive interventions in the context of active surveillance.


Name of person or group
Dr. Anthony Joshua, MBBS, FRACP, Ph.D. 
Medical Oncologist, Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario Cancer Institute
Name of program or research project
Exploring Autophagy in Prostatic Carcinogenesis
Investment and period of investment
$300K from 2009 to 2010
Outline of program or project
Research suggests that cancer is difficult to treat as it has the ability to adapt its growth processes and ensure its survival. One such process is “autophagy”, in which cells digest part or all of their “internal organelles” (specialized units within the cell) to allow for self-sustainment with nourishment during times of stress such as lack of oxygen or nutrients.
Autophagy has yet to be studied in prostate cancer, though it’s known that about 40 per cent of cases have a deletion in one of the crucial genes involved in the process. This study will develop models of prostate cancer that either have autophagy intact, or are deficient in this process. In both cases, the cells will be tested to see how well they grow and how they behave when they lack oxygen or other nutrients.
These experiments will also be complimented with an analysis of human prostate cancers to determine if there is any association with autophagy and aggressiveness of disease. In order to target these drugs to the right men, we need to fully understand the role of autophagy in prostate cancer.

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