Chen Lab Receives 3rd NIH RO1 Grant

Ming Chen, PhD, has been awarded a third National Institutes of Health (NIH) RO1 grant, which will begin on August 1, 2022, and will support the Chen Lab’s research centered on developing a novel combinatorial therapy for neuroendocrine/small cell prostate cancer (NEPC).

“NEPC is a highly lethal prostate cancer for which there is no effective treatment, and monotherapy often benefits only a small portion of patients for a very short time period,” Dr. Jiaoti Huang, Chairman of the Pathology Department, commented. “Dr. Chen and his team will develop and test novel combinatorial treatment strategies which may help patients who have exhausted available options.”

Using an unbiased screen of the cell-killing efficacy of several current or emerging treatment regimens for NEPC, the lab has already generated preliminary data demonstrating that the combination of a ferroptosis inducer with a BCL2 inhibitor strongly induces synergistic cytotoxicity in NEPC cells. The new RO1 grant will enable the research team to further determine whether co-targeting ferroptosis and BCL2 represents a promising combinatorial approach to treating lethal NEPC.

The project is a collaboration with Duke investigators Jiaoti Huang, MD, PhD, Andrew J. Armstrong, MD, MSc, and Qing Yang, PhD, as well as investigators at other institutions, who will provide necessary expertise in their relevant fields.

Obtaining this prostate cancer RO1 grant, especially for a third time within one year, is a testament to the excellence of the Duke prostate cancer program and the leadership of Chairman Jiaoti Huang, MD, PhD. It also reflects the dedication of the Chen Lab to scientific discovery, its commitment to innovation, and the collaborative spirit of Duke’s prostate cancer research community.

Chen is an Assistant Professor of Pathology. To learn more about the Chen Lab's previous two RO1s, please click here; to learn more about the Chen Lab's research, please click here.