The annual prostate cancer research retreat provided a lively sampling of the work of many UCSF investigators focused on this disease. About 180 post-docs, clinical fellows and faculty attended the daylong program, which was held in Genentech Hall in the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building on September 9. s
Program chair Davide Ruggero, PhD, had a specific image in mind for this year’s retreat. “We wanted to give a three-dimensional perspective on everything we do in prostate cancer.” To that end, a morning “discovery” segment covered basic science affecting prostate cancer, followed by a “development” segment that reviewed early clinical trials and translational research, and a final “delivery” segment that looked at larger clinical applications.
This year’s program was marked by especially animated discussions among participants—exactly what the retreat is designed to foster. “The retreat is a time when we can have the interactions and discussions that suggest collaborations,” said Ruggero. Many attendees do not currently work in prostate cancer, he said, but are interested in the disease and in learning new concepts, and perhaps starting new collaborative projects. Attendees included established faculty and those just starting their research careers. Also present was Howard Soule, PhD, chief science officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one of the major funding entities dedicated to the disease, and many prostate cancer advocates, who provide vital advice to the UCSF program.
Basic science presentations on various aspects of genomics in prostate cancer were given by Barry Taylor, PhD, Allan Balmain, PhD, FRSE, Andrew Hsieh, MD and Michael Evans, PhD. Highlights of research that is being translated into clinical care included a presentation by Matthew Cooperberg, MD, MPH, on risk stratification of men with localized disease; an update on a new research endeavor, the West Coast Prostate Cancer Dream Team, by Eric Small, MD; tracking castration-resistant metastatic disease by Lawrence Fong, MD; and applications for circulating tumor cells by Terence Friedlander, MD. Frank McCormick, director of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, anchored the afternoon session with a talk on new ways of targeting Ras—a key pathway implicated in prostate cancer and many other cancers. Other afternoon sessions were devoted to new treatments for relapsed prostate cancer by Rahul Aggarwal, MD; a nurse navigator program to help new patients access care by Geronima Cortese, MPH, RN, and Charles Ryan, MD; and decision support in cancer care by Jeffrey Belkora, PhD.
“The retreat offers a great snapshot of where we are, where we are going and ways we can improve,” said Peter Carroll, MD, MPH, urology department chair.