Michael E. Jung, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Member at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center; Charles Sawyers, MD, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program Director at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and Howard I. Scher, MD, Chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Service and D. Wayne Calloway Chair in Urologic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering, received the 9th annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2015 Team Science Award.
Presented by the AACR annually, the Team Science Award recognizes prominent researchers for their innovative scientific work in the detection, diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of cancer.
Drs. Jung, Sawyers, and Scher are being recognized for their groundbreaking work in the discovery and development of the antiandrogen drug enzalutamide (Xtandi). Based on the results from the clinical trials conducted worldwide, enzalutamide has been shown to extend progression-free survival by several months in men battling the disease.
In the initial studies, Dr. Sawyers determined that androgen overexpression was responsible for fueling the growth and survival of castration-resistant prostate cancers.
A team of chemists and biologists then used preclinical models to identify novel androgen receptor antagonists that blocked the growth of tumors, and it was these studies that led to the clinical development of enzalutamide.
Following a phase III clinical trial, managed by Dr. Scher, which showed that the drug significantly extended survival among patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer that had failed to respond to chemotherapy, enzalutamide received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in August 2012.
This is the first time the AACR has given this award to such a small group of researchers. ■