The UCSF urology department has captured all three awards in the Western Section American Urologic Association 2012 Joseph F. McCarthy/ACMI - Physician Essay Contest.
Although no other institution has ever done so, this is the third time UCSF has swept the McCarthy awards. The winning essays are:
First place: Matthew Cooperberg, MD, MPH, “Validation of a cell-cycle progression gene panel to improve risk-stratification in a contemporary prostatectomy cohort”
Second place: Maurice Garcia, MD, MAS, “Endoscopic gold fiduciary marker placement into the bladder wall to optimize radiotherapy targeting for bladder-preserving management of muscle-invasive bladder cancer”
Third place: Maurice Garcia, MD, MAS, “OET assay of non-motile mouse sperm predicts 2-Cell embryo development after mouse ICSI and live-birth rates following embryo transfer”
In Cooperberg’s winning essay, a set of genetic biomarkers related to cell cycle progression showed significant prognostic accuracy among a group of men treated with radical prostatectomy. The score added independent information beyond standard clinical and pathological variables, and may be useful in clinical decision-making before and after surgery. Cooperberg said “We need to be able to give a patient better estimates of the likelihood his cancer will or will not progress. Making these predictions with a higher level of confidence will change the way we manage the disease. There are dozens of risk stratification tools, but not all have been validated.”Maurice Garcia is the first person to win more than one award in a single competition. He was awarded second place for his explanation of a unique marker he designed and manufactures to improve the accuracy of radiotherapy in bladder cancer patients.
“This innovation improves treatment accuracy and reduces the radiation to healthy tissues – it’s truly translational work,” Garcia said.
Because he found existing methods for bladder imaging were too imprecise, Garcia designed a 24-K gold fiducial marker. UCSF has adopted their use under Garcia's placement protocol and is currently the only place in the nation a patient can get these markers implanted. A multicenter trial is planned.
Garcia won the third place award in a vastly different line of inquiry. Garcia and his team showed that the photonic tool known as optoelectronic tweezers (OET) could sort for the most viable sperm and improve the outcomes of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in a mouse model.
The papers were judged on originality, importance of material and editorial clarity. Western region urologists who have been out of training 10 years or less are eligible for the competition. WSAUA is a non-profit organization of 2000 physicians and part of the American Urological Association.