SBU Prostate Cancer Treatment Research Shows Promise

Team leaders L. to R.: Robert Rizzo, Iwao Ojima, Martin Kaczocha, and Lloyd Trotman.

A Stony Brook University-led research team is investigating a new prostate cancer treatment that could offer an alternative to chemotherapy without the adverse effects on patients or tumors building up a resistance. 

The research is testing a fatty acid-binding protein (FABP) in the treatment of inflammation, pain, and halting the spread of certain cancers as drug targets themselves, or in combination with chemotherapy treatments such as docetaxel or cabazitaxel, a class of drugs known as taxanes.

“In our research, neither docetaxel or cabazitaxel alone was able to eradicate prostate cancer cells in vitro, while combinations of taxanes with FABP5 inhibitors resulted in complete prostate cell death with synergism at very low concentrations of taxanes,” said Iwao Ojima, Ph.D., the lead investigator and director of SBU’s Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery.

The study, in collaboration with Artelo Biosciences, is funded by a five-year $4.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The research seeks to advance findings from a preliminary study of FABP and its inhibitors that earned a Fusion Award seed grant from the Renaissance School of Medicine at SBU.

The original work that Ojima and team co-leader Martin Kaczocha, Ph.D., did with Lloyd Trotman, Ph.D., a professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, led to a peer-reviewed paper published in the medical journal The Prostate. The team found FABP worked against highly drug-resistant metastatic prostate cancer cells and also enhanced the anti-tumor effects of taxane drugs in animal models, the researchers say.  

Ojima, Kaczoha, and Trotman are working on the project with Robert Rizzo, Ph.D. a professor of applied mathematics and statistics at SBU.

”We expect to continue the momentum of breakthroughs with our cancer research enterprise,” said Yusuf Hannun, M.D., director of the SBU Cancer Center. “This expansion of the research by Dr. Ojima and his colleagues with new federal funding is the type of progressive work we hope sets the bar toward our NCI cancer center designation and impacts patient care in the near future.” 

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