Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States in women and the fourth most common in men. It is a leading cause of cancer-associated deaths in developed countries, and it is one of the most costly cancers to treat. Despite these statistics, bladder cancer has seen few advances in prognosis and treatment over the last twenty years.
The Department of Urology at CUMC is working to reverse this trend through its pioneering basic science and clinical research programs. A recent example of the Department’s leadership in this important area of medicine comes in the form of a review co-authored by Department Chair James McKiernan, M.D., and research faculty member Cory Abate-Shen, Ph.D. The article, published in the January issue of scientific journal Nature Reviews Cancer, discusses how mouse models of bladder cancer can improve our understanding of this understudied disease and advance promising new treatments.
Dr. McKiernan, Dr. Abate-Shen and co-authors Takashi Kobayashi and Tomasz B. Owczarek explain that while basic science research has generated numerous mouse models for other types of cancer, there are few models of bladder cancer. This deficiency has important implications since mouse models not only illuminate the nature and progression of bladder cancer, they also have the bench-to-bedside potential to help scientists translate this knowledge into novel therapies and diagnostic tools.
Recent groundbreaking preclinical studies led by Dr. Abate-Shen exemplify the benefits patients stand to gain from research involving mouse models. Dr. Abate-Shen and her team were able to reduce bladder cancer tumors in mice with the drug rapamycin, a finding that led physician-scientists in the Department of Urology to launch the first-ever human targeted bladder cancer research study last summer, currently overseen by G. Joel DeCastro, M.D., MPH.
More information can be found at http://www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v15/n1/pdf/nrc3858.pdf