The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), a leading supporter of prostate cancer research, has awarded Matthew Dallos, MD, a 2019 Young Investigator Award. PCF is recognizing Dr. Dallos, a genitourinary oncologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia and member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC), for his ongoing research to advance the field of  immunotherapy in prostate cancer.

Matthew Dallos, MD

Cancer immunotherapy is a form of treatment that fights cancer with a patient’s own immune system and is considered one of the most innovative and promising treatments for  cancer . While immunotherapy has proven effective in many tumor types, including breast and esophageal cancers, it has yet to be optimized for prostate cancer. Dr. Dallos aims to change that. 

With PCF’s support, Dr. Dallos will initiate a clinical trial, called neo-RED-P, focusing on a type of immune cell, called Treg, which, when hijacked by cancer cells, holds back the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. These immune-suppressive T-cells tend to increase in number after androgen deprivation therapy, or ADT, a common course of treatment for prostate cancer patients. Dr. Dallos’ new trial will test whether adding a Treg-depleting drug to ADT can keep the immune-suppressive T-cells from proliferating and improve anti-tumor immune responses in men with high-risk localized prostate cancer.

With his mentor, Dr. Charles Drake, a leading genitourinary oncologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia and pioneer in immunotherapy research, Dr. Dallos already is leading another innovative immunotherapy clinical trial at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, called MAGIC-8. The trial, which has been opened in two additional sites, studies the efficacy of a novel combination therapy of an immune checkpoint inhibitor and a new drug designed to block a protein called IL-8, which Drs. Dallos and Drake and have found to be critical in enhancing the effectiveness of immunotherapies for prostate cancer. In August, PCF awarded Drs. Drake and Dallos  a $1 million Challenge Award to support the MAGIC-8 trial. 

Earlier this year, Dr. Dallos also received a Young Investigator Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF). CCF each year recognizes and provides funding to outstanding early-career investigators to encourage and promote quality research in clinical oncology. 

Dr. Dallos’ ongoing work in investigating the efficacy and biological impact of cancer immunotherapy has the potential to finally find a way to get the immune system to recognize and destroy prostate cancer cells. 

“One of the reasons cancer immunotherapy is such an exciting field is that the immune system has the ability to develop memory. Therefore, for patients who respond to these treatments, the responses can be very long lasting,” he says. “So in our study, where we are giving immunotherapy prior to definitive surgery, the ultimate goal is to improve the chance for a cure in men living with prostate cancer.”  

-Melanie A. Farmer