Center for Prostate Disease Research

Center for Prostate Disease Research

A Featured HJF Research Program

The Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR) was established in 1991 by Congress to study prostate cancer and disease in the U.S. Military Health System. The center offers a comprehensive research program and provides advanced translational clinical research care for more than 7,900 beneficiaries annually.

The center maintains a clinical trial portfolio treating all stages of prostate cancer from prevention to late-stage disease. Many CPDR studies have influenced how prostate cancer is managed and treated on national and international levels. The program is integrated in an extramural patient care setting with medical oncology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Cancer Institute.

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., in coordination with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, supports CPDR by providing administrative and management services to meet its mission.


The center’s mission is to conduct basic science and clinical research programs to combat diseases of the prostate. The center integrates basic and clinical science studies to improve early detection and prognostic factors and to develop potential treatments for prostate disease.

The center focuses on the natural history of prostate disease, outcomes research, and behavioral, psychosocial and quality-of-life issues related to prostate disease. It also provides training in molecular biology and clinical research to physicians, scientists, and medical and graduate students. The center supports other collaborative research efforts related to prostate disease within the Department of Defense.


The mission is accomplished primarily through CPDR’s three principal programs—Clinical Research Center, Basic Science Research Program and Tri-Service Multicenter Prostate Cancer Database—and through a robust education and training program that operates from its headquarters location in Rockville, Md.,and laboratories at the University.

The Clinical Research Center’s goal is to combine prostate screening, data collection, clinical diagnosis, education, counseling and clinical trial research in an efficient, personal, patient-oriented center. This unique approach to the diagnosis and treatment of prostate diseases has resulted in significant clinical breakthroughs.

The Clinical Research Center is the only free-standing prostate cancer research center in the U.S. The 20,000-square-foot basic science laboratory has amassed a large bank of prostate cancer specimens used to help unravel the disease’s genetic makeup.

The Basic Science Research Program is a multi-discipline prostate cancer research endeavor. It integrates basic science and clinical science research. The program works to discover and define specific gene alterations for improving diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

Its research projects are integrated around four themes that are highly interactive and exceed the conventional boundaries of a given expertise area. They truly represent the CPDR paradigm:

  • translational genomics and proteomics
  • novel cell culture models
  • molecular genetics
  • hormonal mechanisms.

Two major activities of the basic research program are investigator-initiated research and the development of unique bioresources critical for research at CPDR and in the prostate cancer field.

The Tri-Service Multicenter Prostate Cancer Database collects comprehensive data about prostate disease, particularly prostate cancer, so the center can develop more effective prevention, diagnostic and treatment strategies.

The database is the largest, most comprehensive prostate cancer database in the U.S., drawing from Army, Air Force and Navy patients at 10 military medical centers. The endeavor is a model for interservice cooperation and research collaboration. With more than 15,000 prostate cancer survivors enrolled to date, the CPDR database is rapidly becoming a national resource.

Research Efforts

The center’s unique approach to the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer and other diseases has resulted in significant clinical breakthroughs in several areas.

In February 2011, a licensing agreement was signed for the exclusive worldwide sales and distribution rights for the immunohistochemistry of an antibody designed to detect tumor prevalence in prostate cancer patients. The antibody was developed by researchers at CPDR.

The mouse monoclonal anti-ERG antibody (CPDR ERG-MAb) can detect the presence of ERG proteins with a high degree of specificity in 50 percent to 70 percent of all patients with prostate cancer.

In 2010, CPDR researchers, in collaboration with investigators at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, developed a highly specific assay for the detection of ERG oncoprotein that is regulated by prevalent gene fusions present in more than half of all prostate cancers. The findings were reported in the June 29 issue of the online publication of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases.

The center’s multidisciplinary research team focuses on:

  • discovering and characterizing specific gene alterations by genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics
  • defining hormonal mechanisms in onset/progression by transcriptions
  • developing novel cell culture models for better definition of prostate cancer biology
  • researching diagnostic and prognostic bio-markers and novel therapeutic targets
  • educating and training medical and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, residents and visiting scientists in research.