U-M offers new early detection test for prostate cancer

Urine test looks for gene fusion and PSA to help diagnose prostate cancer early

Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., and Scott Tomlins, M.D., Ph.D.

Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., and Scott Tomlins, M.D., Ph.D.

The University of Michigan Health System announced yesterday that it has begun offering a new urine test that could help detect prostate cancer and save a man from an unnecessary prostate biopsy. More than 1 million men will have a prostate biopsy this year, but only about one-fifth of those biopsies will result in a cancer diagnosis.The new early detection test for prostate cancer, available through MLabs, is called Mi-Prostate Score.

The test is based on a discovery from the lab of Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan of a gene fusion (TMPRSS2:ERG) that is involved in half of prostate cancer. By looking for the gene fusion along with PSA and other urinary marker for prostate cancer, the Mi-Prostate Score improves Continue reading

Stand Up, on Friday, Sept. 7 at 8 PM

Why I Stand Up.

“The patient is the ultimate lab.” 

These words, spoken by the late Laura Ziskin, continue to resonate with all of us who receive funding from Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C). With these words Laura encapsulated a major challenge facing cancer researchers today: too many discoveries stay in the lab and fail to be translated into innovations in patient care.

In 2008, Laura, along with six other remarkable women from the entertainment industry, recognized this challenge and decided to tackle it head on by creating SU2C.

The funding commitments from SU2C are already having impact on moving research along. Through their Dream Team initiative, SU2C funds collaborative research that unites senior scientists across multiple institutions to rapidly advance new therapies into the clinic. Two researchers from the University of Michigan are part of SU2C Dream Teams –Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan leads the Prostate Cancer Dream Team and Cancer Center Director Dr. Max Wicha is part of the Breast Cancer Dream Team.

The second major funding commitment made by SU2C is their Innovative Research Grants Program.  With this initiative, SU2C targets investigators in earlier stages of their scientific careers and asks them to propose high-risk, high-reward research that has the potential to radically alter current thinking. Since 2009, SU2C has funded 26 Innovative Research Grants, including to two U-M scientists – me and Dr. Yali Dou, an associate professor of pathology. Continue reading

Stand Up to Cancer: Support Cancer Research During National Telethon

On Sept. 7, your favorite actors, athletes and musicians will help support the research of Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan and others at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The grassroots celebrity-fueled Stand Up to Cancer will host a one-hour commercial-free primetime telethon on the four major broadcasts networks plus several cable channels. The telethon will air live at 8 p.m. Sept. 7.

Stand Up to Cancer has funded 7 “dream teams” of scientists from across the country dedicated to specific areas of research. Dr. Chinnaiyan is the lead investigator of a prostate cancer dream team, which is based on discoveries made in his lab.

In addition, Dr. Max Wicha, the Cancer Center’s director, is part of a breast cancer dream team whose focus includes looking at breast cancer stem cells, and researchers Beth Lawlor and Yali Dou have also received funding from SU2C.

SU2C was founded on the belief that this is a pivotal juncture with the potential for transformative progress in cancer research because of two trends:

  • breakthroughs made in our understanding of the basic science of cancer
  • technological advances that enable us to translate them into new treatments

Today’s cancer researchers need additional funding to fulfill the promise of life-saving discoveries, and Stand Up To Cancer engages the public to support their work.

“This broadcast has become a global call-to-action for all those touched by cancer,” says Gwenyth Paltrow, who will produce the telethon. “Like so many people, I know what it’s like to lose a family member to this disease, and I’m honored to stand up in my father’s memory.”

The telethon will include a celebrity phone/multi-media bank that will allow viewers to interact with participating talent. Viewers will also be able to donate via text-to-give and at standup2cancer.org. One hundred percent of all public donations will go directly to cancer research.

Read the latest issue of Thrive

The latest issue of Thrive, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s patient publication, is now available online.

Check out our cover story about options available to women who would like to start a family after cancer treatment has impaired their fertility. The issue also features stories about helping children cope with their parents’ cancer diagnoses and 10 ways to make better decisions about cancer care. Our dietitians weigh in on popular supplements, and our art therapist discusses the benefits of spending time on creative projects.

Visit Thrive online at mCancer.org/thrive. Take time to browse our archive, too.