Genitourinary Malignancies DOT
Genitourinary (GU) malignancies include cancers that develop in the prostate, bladder, kidney, testes, and adrenal glands. Together, members of the GU malignancies disease-oriented team (GUMDOT) do research to better understand how to prevent and treat these cancers. The GUMDOT has four broad goals:
- Identify and avoid defective cellular functions that cause GU cancers
- Develop effective treatments
- Describe inherited factors that raise the risk for these cancers
- Develop animal models of GU cancers
A Sample of Current Projects
- Creating clinical trials for new drugs to treat advanced prostate cancer. Men with newly diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer get therapies that stall the disease’s progress by reducing testosterone. Unfortunately, these therapies usually only work for a few years before the cancer starts to grow again. A GUMDOT clinical trial tests if adding a new drug, TAK-700, will improve the survival of these men. Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is the lead center for this important study that gathers participants from across the United States.
- Investigating how genealogy and geography affect cancer risk. The GUMDOT uses unique resources, including the Utah Population Database, to see how environmental exposures and familial factors are associated with later life prostate cancer risk. Studies look at the effects of prenatal and early life environments, occupational exposures during reproductive years, and family histories to identify previously unknown risk factors. Knowing early risk factors may help keep children from getting prostate cancer later in life.
- Identifying molecular markers to help determine prognosis. About half of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have DNA changes that re-arrange two genes in their tumor cells. GUMDOT members have discovered a fast, simple, non-invasive, and inexpensive test to measure the function of these re-arranged genes, which can predict cancer aggressiveness. By looking at prostate cancer tissues from patients and matching these to a clinical outcomes database, we can discover if this test will help clinicians predict which patients are likely to develop life-threatening prostate cancer and personalize treatment for each patient.