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Dr. Gleave Awarded the 2018 Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Prize in Cancer Research

By August 8, 2018No Comments

Dr. Martin Gleave is the recipient of the fifth annual Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Prize in Cancer Research for his work to improve outcomes from prostate cancer, which has spanned surgery, molecular manipulation in the search for new treatments, and managing the challenge of taking lab discoveries to market.  The UBC Faculty of Medicine bestows this award  annually to a Canadian physician or scientist who makes outstanding contributions to the treatment, amelioration, or development of therapies for cancer.

Dr. Gleave, the Executive Director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre, has focused much of his research on how prostate cancer develops resistance to chemotherapy and hormone therapy. He developed a mouse model of prostate cancer that closely mimics the development of hormone therapy resistance. Using a biobank of hormone therapy- and chemotherapy-treated prostate tumours that he created (the world’s largest), he discovered the roles of many genes and pathways that lead to acquired resistance, with a focus on stress responses. Dr. Gleave was the first to identify that treatment stress results in the greater production of the protein clusterin, leading to resistance, and he developed an inhibitor that enhances cell death after treatment. More recently, he discovered that the heat shock protein Hsp27 also protects cancerous cells during treatment, and led a project that the revealed its Hsp27’s structure that resulted in discovery of small molecule inhibitors, using structure-guided, computer-aided drug design.

Dr. Gleave patented both inhibitors and founded a UBC spin-off company, OncoGenex, awarded Canada’s Biotech Company of the Year in 2010, that has completed seven clinical trials to approve these drugs; in addition, he founded two other biotechnology companies to commercialize his team’s discoveries. He created the Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development, a program to bridge laboratory and clinical research and facilitate commercialization, and which has attracted $67 million in federal funding and about $5 million annually from research partnerships. He also led UBC’s successful application for the first phase of a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Precision Cancer Drug Design. He is UBC’s principal investigator on the Stand Up to Cancer-American Association for Cancer Research Dream Team, served as Chairman of the Canadian Urologic Oncology Group and the National Cancer Institute of Canada’s Genito-Urinary Clinical Trials Group.

Dr. Gleave earned his MD and did his urology residency at UBC. He was a Research Fellow and then an Assistant Professor at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas before returning to UBC in 1992, first as an Assistant Professor of Surgery, and ultimately as a Distinguished University Scholar, the BC Leadership Chair in Prostate Cancer Research and the Goldenberg Family Chair in Urologic Sciences.