At this time of year, it is natural to reflect on my good fortune in having support from my contributors and friends, and I want to send my thanks and best wishes for a happy holiday season and good health in the New Year. I also want to bring you up to date on our efforts and again ask your support for our prostate cancer research program through the Urological Research Foundation.
Our program remains at the forefront of prostate cancer research. Although we have been awarded NIH grants, our program has always had to rely on the wonderful, generous financial support of the Urological Research Foundation.
Our program has contributed to significant advances in the field of prostate cancer. We were the first to show that the PSA blood test is useful as a first-line screening test for prostate cancer. We led the pivotal studies that achieved FDA approval of PSA as an aid to early detection of prostate cancer and the subsequent approval of both the free-and- total PSA blood test and the Prostate Health Index (phi) blood test to improve the accuracy of PSA screening. These advances have saved thousands of lives. There has been an 80% decrease in the percentage of patients with advanced-stage cancer at the time of diagnosis and a 50% decrease in the prostate cancer death rate in the U.S. during the “PSA era.”
At the forefront of genetic research
Working with our collaborators, we performed the first genetic linkage studies focusing on prostate aggressiveness. Our work contributed to the discovery of the first genetic variant associated with prostate cancer susceptibility, and subsequently more than 10 other prostate cancer genetic risk variants. Some of these genetic risk variants are also associated with other forms of cancer, such as breast, colon, pancreatic, bladder, brain, and uterine cancer, etc. These cutting-edge studies have been published in the most respected scientific journals and have increased the knowledge of genetic factors associated with the more aggressive prostate cancer. They will help lead the way to future studies that will affect targeted screening and patient management.
The future of our research
In this area, our work is at an extraordinarily important juncture. We have embarked on a large project involving multiple institutions worldwide that seeks to determine whether germline genetic factors can help identify patients with localized prostate cancer who can be managed with active surveillance versus those who need immediate treatment.
This research is expensive, and although we have been granted partial National Cancer Institute funding for this project, we must rely on philanthropic support as well to complete it. The Urological Research Foundation has made a major financial commitment to this project, and you can further accelerate the research with your donation to the Urological Research Foundation.
We will continue to keep you apprised of our research and other important basic and clinical prostate cancer research through QUEST.
We thank you for your past support. Please consider us again at the end of 2016 and, if you can, please make a tax- deductible donation to the Urological Research Foundation.
William J. Catalona, M.D.
Medical Director of the Urological Research Foundation