The Urologic Oncology Management Team participates in a number of clinical trials and basic research including investigating novel agents such as alefacept; optimizing treatment with new agents currently being used in clinical practice; identifying cancer markers in the urothelium; and investigating the role of environmental toxins, specifically diesel fuels, in bladder cancer.
- Victor Romanov, PhD, and Terry Whyard, MS, in collaboration with the Department of Pharmacology, are investigating the role of 3 NBA (a major toxic component of diesel exhaust) in carcinogenic transformation of bladder urothelium. They are looking at the role of metabolic enzymes activating 3 NBA, DNA damage, and formation of carcinogenic mutations induced by this carcinogen in neoplastic transformation of bladder urothelium. This study is supported by a research award.
- Dr. Romanov and Terry Whyard, MS, Research Associate, are studying the role of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in bone and lymph node metastasis and are investigating the role of PSA in metastatic cell motility, invasion, and proliferation, as well as the regulation of PSA secretion and activity by bone components.
- Wayne Waltzer, MD, and Dr. Romanov are co-investigators in aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN) and its associated urothelial cell cancer, supported by a program project grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Target tissues for aristolochic acid (AA) are the renal cortex and urothelium of the upper urinary tract (renal pelvis and ureter). In humans, the effects of this nephrotoxin, when ingested orally, are manifested in so-called Balkan endemic nephropathy. Ureters are being used by Dr. Romanov to isolate and culture primary urothelial cells. Functional genomics (microarray and micro RNA) studies on these cultured cells are then performed following treatment of these cultures with AA. Dr. Romanov also is involved in NIEHS PPG research designed to identify genes responsible for susceptibility to AAN. He and Tom Rosenquist, PhD, Department of Pharmacology, have developed a mouse model of AAN that mimics all aspects of the human disease. Using inbred strains of mice, they have identified quantitative trait loci conferring sensitivity to the toxin. This advance has enabled the demarcation of human genes responsible for AAN.
- Drs. Waltzer, Romanov and Terry Whyard, in collaboration with Theodore Gabig, MD (Chief, Medical Oncology), are initiating a study that aims the development of anti-prostate cancer cancer compound. This pro-drug will preferentially bind to prostate cancer cells and will be activated by PSA secreted by these cells.
- Shenhong Wu, MD, PhD, is currently investigating the optimal and safe use of new agents, including bevacizumab, sorafenib, and sunitinib in kidney cancer, prostate cancer, and other cancers. Dr. Wu's studies have been published in national journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Lancet Oncology, and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and reported at major medical conferences.