Shipley Prostate Cancer Pilot Grant Awardees Announced

Christopher Andry, MPhil, PhD, Professor and Chair, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and Gerald Denis, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine (HemOnc) and Pharmacology, are the recipients of the 2020 Shipley Prostate Cancer Pilot Grant Awards.

Dr. Andry and co-investigator Elizabeth Duffy, MA, Assistant Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, will use their $50,000 award to develop and apply standard operating procedures to dissect ex vivo prostates, in collaboration with board-certified pathologists and the biobanking team in the department, to increase tumor sampling success rate to 75 percent for contribution to the Shipley Prostate Research Center. Successful completion of this proposal will yield sought-after biospecimens, fresh and frozen prostate tissue available as a resource to BUMC investigators. Prostate tissue collected for this study will be dedicated to the Shipley Prostate Biobanking and made available for future research done at Boston University.

Prostate cancer kills over 31,000 American men annually – there is no cure once the tumor metastasizes, often to bone. Dr. Denis and co-investigators Gretchen Gignac, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine (HemOnc), and Louis Gerstenfeld, PhD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, will use their $50,000 award to study the possibility that preparation of the metastatic niche may begin earlier than commonly accepted, with first steps being the response of the prostate cancer to signals sent from skeletal bone, rather than by bone cells responding to the primary prostate cancer.

If this hypothesis is true, then factors critical for bone health, such as testosterone, steroid medications or chronic inflammatory diseases that affect bone health may play an unexpected, critical role in making bone tissues both more susceptible to metastasis, and by contributing to the molecular changes in prostate cancer cells that facilitate their metastasis. This new approach may improve our understanding of prostate cancer and identify new therapeutic targets to reducing morbidity and mortality from prostate cancer.

The project makes use of human materials collected through Dr. Gerstenfeld’s NIASMS RO1 Project, “A Systems Genetics Approach to Identify BMD Genes,” and will be available through the BUSM Bone Tissues Repository, which provides a variety of bone materials including whole human marrow, human MSCS and osteogenic cell cultures. Repository materials and products are further facilitated by a P30 Center for Skeletal Research Bone Cell Biology Core, which is housed at BU’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and directed by Dr. Paola Divieti Pajevic (GSDM) and codirected by Dr. Gerstenfeld.


Reference: Shipley Prostate Cancer Pilot Grant Awardees Announced (2020, February 25). Retrieved 2020, February 26 from: