Researchers at the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have received a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to identify novel cancer biomarkers and develop AI that can detect and predict aggressive prostate cancer to help avoid unnecessary treatments and their associated negative side effects.

Despite recent advancements, prostate cancer remains a common and serious health issue for men, and current methods of screening and risk assessment can often lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. About 90% of people diagnosed with prostate cancer receive treatment, even though up to 60% of them could be candidates for active surveillance.

The project will be led by Corey Arnold, PhD, professor of radiology and pathology and laboratory medicine, and includes Paul Boutros, PhD, MBA, professor of human genetics and urology; Leonard Marks, MD, professor of urology; Anthony Sisk, DO, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine; and Steven Raman, MD, professor of radiology. The team will collaborate with investigators at Washington University in St. Louis to integrate magnetic resonance imaging, digital histology images, genetic information, and biomarkers in a computational model that can more precisely capture a patient’s current cancer state and forecast outcomes.

“We expect this approach to be able to provide more accurate information about the nature of the cancer, helping doctors to distinguish between aggressive and less threatening forms,” said Arnold, director of the UCLA Computational Diagnostics team. “It will also allow for more personalized and targeted treatment plans, reducing unnecessary interventions and their associated negative effects on patients’ quality of life.” 

The project complements ongoing prostate cancer-focused grants in radiology led by faculty members Kyung Sung and Holden Wu.