This year we are pleased to announce two recipients for the Bladder Cancer Canada Research Grant – Dr. W. Kassouf (McGill University) and Co-Investigators, Drs’. Kulkarni (University of Toronto) and Breau (The University of Ottawa). Each project will receive a $50,000 grant.
Dr. W. Kassouf – Does combination of radiation plus PD-L1 blockade induce immunological memory in muscle invasive bladder cancer?
Radical cystectomy remains the standard of care for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). However, quality of life of patients can be affected. Radiation therapy, which preserves the bladder, would be an appropriate treatment option if we could improve efficacy and decrease side effects. Recently, promising results with immunotherapy in several cancers indicate its combination with radiation could be an attractive strategy to overcome resistance and to improve therapeutic efficacy in bladder cancer patients.
Dr. Kassouf will study combination therapy and its systemic effects on immune memory. Findings from this research will have important clinical relevance as it provides evidence for a sustained clinical response of combination therapy, which will have a positive impact in survival and quality of life of MIBC patients.
Drs. G. Kulkarni and R. Breau – Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in upper tract urothelial cancer: A multicentre, feasibility pilot trial (NAUTICAL – NeoAdjuvant Upper Tract Invasive Cancer triAL)
Although urothelial cancer is primarily of bladder origin, this project will focus on a rare form of urothelial cancer which affects the lining of the kidney and the ureter. The gold standard treatment is surgery to remove the kidney and ureter. Approximately 60% of patients have disease that invades beyond the superficial lining at the time of diagnosis and therefore may benefit from chemotherapy. The use of chemotherapy after surgery has been shown to improve outcomes however a large proportion of patients are not eligible to receive the chemotherapy due to their reduced kidney function postoperatively (i.e. they only have one kidney). More patients would be eligible for chemotherapy if given prior to surgery (called neoadjuvant chemotherapy) and therefore more likely to benefit. This approach to urothelial cancer has been proven in urothelial cancers of the bladder but not in urothelial cancers of the upper tract.
Dr. Kulkarni and Dr. Breau’s study will determine the feasibility of randomizing patients to chemotherapy prior to surgery versus surgery alone. Eventually, if successful, the study would be expanded to evaluate the impact of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on survival.
Bladder Cancer Canada would like to thank all its generous donors for your support which has enabled us to fund two projects critical to the advancement in bladder cancer research.