Research Grants

We officially launched the Foundation in September 2017. In a few short months, and thanks to our partners, sponsors, and donors, we raised $150,000 for prostate cancer research. These funds which will be used to fund three cutting-edge research grants. After a thorough review of submitted research proposals, we awarded three $50,000 grants to research projects at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Mike Slive Foundation is committed to being good stewards of support received from our partners, sponsors, and donors. Only 10% of our expenses go toward overhead, with 90% going toward our mission of “saving lives by funding cutting-edge research and by raising awareness of prostate cancer.” For details, please review our Form 990.

2017-18 Grant Recipients

Impact of TET Protein with Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Sunil Sudarshan, MD, PhD

Dr. Sudarshan is a urologic surgeon-scientist dedicated to the further understanding of the molecular basis on genitourinary malignancies and to translate these findings to the development of novel treatments that will impact the care of affected patients. His particular area of interest is the role the TET enzyme (ten-eleven translocation methylcytosine dioxygenases) to prostate cancer. Dr. Sudarshan believes this grant will validate the finding that the loss of the TET protein promotes the development of aggressive prostate cancer. Dr. Sudarshan will determine how TET is lost, and how it can be turned back on. Identifying the target genes of TET will allow the documentation of the characterization of protein and their effects on prostate cancer progression. This in turn will lead to new and novel therapeutic approaches to the disease.

Solving the obesity Paradox in Prostate Cancer

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., RD (Professor of Nutrition Sciences), Soroush Rais-Bahrami, MD (Assistant Professor of Urology and Radiology), Robert Oster, Ph.D. (Professor of Medicine), and Andrew Frugé, Ph.D., RD (Auburn University)

Obesity is a clear risk factor for 13 different cancers, but for prostate cancer, this relationship is complex. The most recent data show that is related to aggressive prostate cancer, prostate cancer progression, and prostate cancer death. These data come from many observational studies in humans, as well as experiments in preclinical models. Dr. Demark-Wahnefried and the team will be studying randomized controlled trial data on weight loss among obese and overweight prostate cancer patients to determine if slower weight loss/or less intensive physical activity exerts a beneficial impact on tumor biology. In addition, they will determine if rapid weight loss fuels the aggressiveness of tumor growth in the prostate. The NCI-supported trials (one in breast cancer and one in prostate cancer) of weight loss interventions convened during the presurgical period yielded incredibly interesting results that suggest that a slow, steady weight loss that includes exercise may be the best to reduce prostate cancer cell proliferation. Through additional testing of RNA expression data and some circulating biomarkers, we hope to better understand the mechanisms by which slow weight loss and exercise may help men with prostate cancer and arrive at some idea of the rate of weight loss and the amount and kind of exercise needed.

Novel Functions of Mitochondria Localized Androgen Receptor in Prostate Cancer

Keshav K. Singh, Ph.D.

The androgen receptor plays a central role in the normal development of the prostate gland, in prostate carcinogenesis, and in the progression of prostate cancer to advanced metastatic disease. Nuclear localization of androgen receptor upon binding to testosterone directs regulation of a host of nuclear genes. Traditional thinking is that nuclear localization of androgen receptor plays a key role in prostate tumorigenesis. Although this is certainly true, we have discovered that additional action(s) of androgen receptor outside the nucleus can contribute to prostate cancer. Surprisingly, we have found that the besides in the nucleus androgen receptor localizes into mitochondria and contains authentic mitochondria localization signal capable transporting other proteins into the mitochondria. Our study suggests that mitochondria-localized androgen receptor is a novel player in promoting prostate tumor growth and metastasis. It is conceivable, that androgen receptor in mitochondria acquires novel mitochondrial function(s) and provides the energy needed to fuel prostate cancer aggressiveness, but this remains to be investigated. This grant will seek to 1) determine the novel function(s) of androgen receptor in the mitochondria and evaluate the tumor growth and metastatic potential of mitochondria-localized androgen receptor in mouse xenograft model.