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Prostate Cancer NIH Specialised Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) USA

A cornerstone of NCI’s efforts to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary translational cancer research.

National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute(NCI) first established two funded Prostate Cancer NIH Specialised Programs of Research Excellence USA (SPOREs) in 1992 and later expanded the prostate cancer SPORE program to 11 prostate SPOREs in 2002. There are currently 63 active SPOREs located at academic centers in 19 states across the United States.

These SPOREs formed part of an NCI-wide program aimed at identifying new opportunities in prostate cancer research, and developing new scientific approaches in early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of human prostate cancer.

Each SPORE is focused on a specific organ site with eighteen organ sites or systems represented in the SPORE portfolio, including: bladder, brain, breast, cervical, endometrial, gastrointestinal, head and neck, kidney, leukemia, lung, lymphoma, myeloma, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, sarcoma, thyroid and skin cancers.

The objective of the SPOREs is to enable the rapid and efficient movement of basic scientific findings into clinical settings, as well as to determine the biological basis for observations made in individuals with cancer or in populations at risk for cancer and to reduce cancer incidence and mortality, and to improve survival and quality of life for cancer patients. SPOREs encourage the advice of patient advocates in SPORE activities.

Prostate Cancer SPOREs have created a collaborative network, conducting inter-SPORE scientific studies for the clinical evaluation of biomarkers, early phase clinical trials of anti-prostate cancer agents, and the development of inter-institutional systems to accelerate prostate cancer research.

Accomplishments of the Prostate Cancer SPOREs include the development of new oncogene and knockout transgenic mouse models of prostate cancer as well as the development of new xenograph models. Also the Partin tables for staging, the Kattan nomograms for prognosis, and the adaptation of PSA dynamics as surrogate markers for survival are now contributing to the clinical assessment of patients.  A number of new serum and tissue markers have been discovered, developed and translated to clinical use. 

A seminal finding emerging from the Prostate Cancer SPOREs is the discovery of ETS family gene translocations in prostate cancer, the first common casual gene translocation to be identified in a major human solid tumor.  A highly promising therapeutic development is the synthesis and clinical evaluation of second-generation anti-androgens for treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

These SPOREs  play a central role advancing translational cancer research with academia, industry, different government agencies, as well as with the international research community.