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DCI Launches Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers

November 8, 2018
By: Jessica Hyland, Writer

Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) officially launched the new DCI Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers, a center of excellence supporting a growing multi-disciplinary clinical and translational research team.

The DCI Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers will be led by a multi-disciplinary steering committee, with support from medical oncology, urology, radiology, radiation oncology, pathology and DCI leadership. The center’s mission is to advance practice-changing research, accelerate the translation of new discoveries into clinical practice, develop innovative surgical procedures, and foster promising talent in the prostate and urologic cancer fields.

“We have built a collaborative powerhouse of faculty and staff from across the university dedicated to the pursuit of ground-breaking research and patient care,” said George. “We’re changing the rules on cancer. Our mission is to cure more patients of these cancers through advancing clinical, translational and population research that translates to better multidisciplinary care and education.”

The DCI Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers steering committee structure includes eight leaders, co-chaired by Daniel J. George, MD, Professor of Medicine and Surgery and Director of Genitourinary Oncology at Duke Cancer Institute, and Brant A. Inman, MD, MS, Cary N. Robertson Associate Professor of Surgery. The committee also includes four co-director roles to support research, imaging, radiation oncology and surgical advancements for prostate and urologic cancers.

The co-director positions include:

  • Director of Research: Led by Andrew J. Armstrong, MD, ScM, Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, and director for clinical research of genitourinary oncology in the Duke Cancer Institute. This position oversees large, multi-investigator research initiatives, clinical trials, facilitates industry and academic collaborations, and fosters the career development of researchers in clinical, basic and translational research.
  • Director of Imaging: Rajan T. Gupta, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology and Surgery and Director for the abdominal imaging fellowship program. This position oversees and supports emerging imaging modalities and techniques that assist in furthering research and clinical care. Gupta will lead the team in fostering collaborations across nuclear and radiologic imaging at Duke, while partnering with industry investigators to further develop image-guided therapeutics. He will also continue to develop rising stars in the imaging field through mentorship.
  • Director of Radiation Oncology: Bridget F. Koontz, MD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology. This position will foster and grow radiation oncology clinical and research efforts within the center, supporting development of forward-thinking application of technology and multidisciplinary approaches to promote new ideas and clinical excellence.  Koontz will also guide expansion of faculty development and patient services.
  • Director of Surgical Technology: Thomas J. Polascik, MD, Professor of Surgery. This position will oversee the development of innovative technology that provides enhanced safety and outcomes for patients. He will also identify emerging trends in the management of prostate and urologic cancers, including pioneering better ways to diagnosis and treat early stage and metastatic disease. 

In addition to the above directors, Jiaoti Huang, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Pathology, and Steven Patierno, PhD, Deputy Director of Duke Cancer Institute, will serve as members of the steering committee. Huang and Patierno will partner with the center to facilitate engagement between DCI and Duke Pathology. The duo will also guide multi-disciplinary research and clinical endeavors that support the center’s mission.The DCI

Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers will continue developing paradigm-challenging clinical trials with the support of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and numerous foundations. The center’s research will define the biology and genetic drivers of health disparities, discover novel immunotherapy approaches, and identify markers and therapeutic targets of aggressive disease in prostate and urologic cancers.

“We have built a collaborative research environment where ideas, technology and resources are shared amongst an entire ecosystem of genitourinary cancer researchers. The idea is that we can achieve much greater things by working together that we ever could working alone,” stated Inman. “As a team, we are stronger, bolder and much more innovative. We are looking beyond the small incremental gains towards new research and surgical innovations that have the potential to revolutionize our field.”

The DCI Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers is committed to improving the overall health and wellbeing of its patients through high quality patient care, cutting-edge research, innovative technology and collaborative partnerships and initiatives.