Program Profile

Prostate Cancer Foundation-Department of Veterans Affairs Partnership: A Model of Public-Private Collaboration to Advance Treatment and Care of Invasive Cancers

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Background: Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed and treated cancer in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As the leading philanthropic source for prostate cancer research, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) entered into a unique public-private biomedical research partnership with the VA with the goal of addressing the urgent health challenges faced by veterans with prostate cancer.

Observations: With a commitment of $50 million from PCF and the VA’s vast medical center infrastructure, the PCF-VA partnership has established 12 precision oncology Centers of Excellence to date, forming a collaborative network called the Precision Oncology Program for Cancer of the Prostate (POPCaP) Network. A 4-year review reveals the importance of executive leadership, mission-driven advocacy, setting shared ambitious goals, maximizing existing infrastructure and human capital, recruiting talent and resources, and creating space for adaptation and iteration in the context of a learning health care system.

Conclusions: The PCF-VA partnership seeks to continue translating clinical research into national standards of care for veterans and serves as an innovative model of public-private collaborations for future health initiatives.



In late 2016, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) announced a multiyear public-private partnership to deliver precision oncology and best-in-class care to all veterans battling prostate cancer. 1 The creation of this partnership was due to several favorable factors. At that time, VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald had created the Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships. This Center provided a mechanism for nonprofit and industry partners to collaborate with the VA, thereby advancing partnerships that served the VA mission of “serving and honoring…America’s veterans.” 1,2 Concurrently, Vice President Joseph Biden’s Cancer Moonshot (later renamed the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot) charged PCF and other cancer-focused organizations with the ambitious goal of making a decade’s worth of advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in 5 years. 3 As such, both organizations were positioned to recognize and address the unique prostate cancer challenges faced by male veterans, which ultimately led to the PCF-VA partnership.

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