Vancouver, BC – Prostate cancer researcher Dr. Martin Gleave has won the fourth annual Aubrey J. Tingle Prize. The award, created in honour of Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR)’s founding president & CEO, is given to a British Columbia researcher whose work in health research is internationally recognized and has significant impact on advancing clinical or health services and policy research. Gleave will receive the $10,000 award at an MSFHR event to be scheduled in the coming weeks.
“Martin has contributed significantly to the understanding and treatment of prostate cancer, a disease that affects thousands of Canadian men every year,” says Dr. Diane Finegood, MSFHR president & CEO. “He has studied how prostate cancer grows on a cellular and molecular level and has used this research to develop therapies that specifically target these mechanisms, improving outcomes for men with the disease,” adds Finegood.
Gleave established PC-TRIADD (Prostate Centre’s Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development), a national centre of excellence in commercialization and research that received early stage funding as a MSFHR research unit in 2004 and has since attracted $90 million in national and international funding, including $40 million from Industry Canada and a $15-million grant from the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research. Under Gleave’s leadership, PC-TRIADD’s is currently focused on understanding the mechanisms of castration-resistant prostate cancer, including the development and commercialization of new classes of drugs that may be more effective following hormone therapy failure.
He has also patented several anti-cancer drugs and in 2001 founded OncoGenex Technologies, a Nasdaq-listed biotechnology company for which he serves as chief scientific officer. Gleave developed OGX-011 (also known as Custirsen), a drug that blocks the production of the protein clusterin, which may play a fundamental role in cancer cell survival and treatment resistance. Seven clinical studies have been completed, including a randomized trial demonstrating a seven-month gain in overall survival when OGX-011 was combined with docetaxel. Two phase III registration trials for the drug began in 2010.
Another agent discovered and patented by Gleave, OGX-427 (also known as Apatorsen) is in phase II clinical trials. The drug inhibits the production of heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27), an intracellular protein that protects cancer cells by helping them survive, leading to treatment resistance and more aggressive cancer phenotypes.
Gleave was appointed the BC Leadership Chair in Prostate Cancer Research in 2005, a $4.5 million endowment. He is executive director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre, chief executive officer of PC-TRIADD, and a distinguished professor in the Department of Urologic Sciences at the University of British Columbia.