NEWS | October 28, 2019

Young investigator awarded $1 million for prostate cancer research


Tsung-Chieh (James) Shih has been awarded a $1 million Idea Development Award from the U.S. Department of Defense to study whether a novel combination drug therapy can be effective against advanced prostate cancer.

Tsung-Chieh (James) Shih Tsung-Chieh (James) Shih

Shih, a scientist in the UC Davis Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, hopes his research in mice will lead to a new weapon against metastatic prostate cancer. 

Shih’s approach would combine a drug that inhibits a driver of prostate cancer – a protein called Galectin-1 – with a type of immunotherapy called a checkpoint inhibitor. Checkpoint inhibitors have been shown to be effective in only 10 percent of advanced prostate cancer patients, but Shih believes that the combination therapy could prove to be a more effective strategy. 

“I am honored that the DOD chose my project from a competitive applicant pool,” Shih said. “This project has great translational potential, and it addresses a critical roadblock in cancer immunotherapy.” 

Shih’s collaborators are Kit Lam and Ruiwu Liu in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Allen Gao in the Department of Urology and Emanual Maverakis in the Department of Dermatology.