Experts Talk Advances in Prostate Cancer Research and New Therapies at Sept. 22 Patient Summit

Leaders in prostate cancer research and medicine will be convening Sept. 22 for the inaugural NYC Prostate Cancer Summit, a patient-focused event co-hosted by NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). Partner institutions, including event lead Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, have organized the free, half-day program (8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) to address critical topics in prostate cancer, including existing and novel treatment, new and ongoing clinical trials, patient advocacy, and advanced areas of research. 

The goal behind the summit is to give patients, patient advocates and caregivers direct access to the foremost experts in the field. Physician researchers from CUIMC who are scheduled to speak include Charles Drake, MD, PhD, a nationally recognized expert in cancer immunotherapy; Elias Hyams, MD, an active researcher in prostate cancer epidemiology; and Mark Stein, MD, whose interests include the development of novel immune therapies for the treatment of prostate cancer.  

While the summit is geared toward patients, oncologists will get to hear directly from patients as well, about their pressing needs and unanswered questions. 

“It is just as important for doctors to hear directly from patient advocates,” says Dr. Stein, associate professor of medical oncology at CUIMC and a member of Columbia’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC). “Research will play a big role in the summit, particularly clinical trials. We want to make sure that patients are aware of what clinical trials are and that not all trials are for the sickest of patients. There are trials in place that address other important questions of earlier stages of the disease.”

With four of the leading cancer institutions on hand at the summit, patients will hear reliable information about advances in treatment options and about the research projects being conducted at each institution. CUIMC, for one, got a recent boost toward their efforts in prostate cancer research.

In July, CUIMC, in partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to conduct prostate cancer clinical trials and to join the DoD’s prestigious Prostate Cancer Research Program Clinical Consortium. The national consortium is comprised of 11 leading academic medical centers that are conducting clinical and translational prostate cancer research. The Prostate Cancer Research Program Clinical Consortium Award specifically supports the resources that researchers need to rapidly conduct Phase I and II clinical trials of treatments for prostate cancer, with the goal of quickly making new treatments available. The upcoming summit is part of this group’s strong collaboration and dedication to innovative research and therapy options for the disease. 

In the U.S., prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, behind lung cancer. About 1 in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. In 2017, approximately 165,000 men were diagnosed with the disease and about 27,000 died from it. 

Being a part of this consortium, says Dr. Stein, enables institutions to work together to conduct really state of the art clinical trials often on novel drugs, addressing novel questions, and with great potential to get questions answered faster.

“It is very hard for any one institution to do a clinical trial by itself,” adds Dr. Stein. “In order to be rigorous and to make sure the results are meaningful, which requires quite a number of patients to be involved, and to make sure that you’re not answering questions five years from now but doing trials from a time frame that is relevant to the science and to the patients, we have to work together.”

At the Sept. 22 summit, Dr. Stein and Dr. Hyams will participate in a panel on “Screening, Active Surveillance and Prostate Cancer Biomarkers”, and Dr. Drake will be a part of the panel, “Imaging, Immunotherapy and Other New Targeted Therapies.” Other topics to be addressed include nutrition and diet and advocacy, with guest speakers from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Us TOO International. 

To attend, visit the event registration page.  


-Melanie A. Farmer