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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Urology
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Health Disparities

Conducting research to eliminate the racial disparity in prostate cancer outcomes.

 Adam Murphy Lab

Studying the biologic and environmental sources of health disparities in prostate cancer

Research Description

Dr. Murphy's group investigates etiologies and modifiable risk factors for health disparities in prostate cancer. They study the biological and environmental mediators of serum vitamin D deficiency and prostate cancer risk. Dr. Murphy's group also assesses the role of HIV infection on the incidence and treatment of prostate cancer. Finally, they evaluate barriers of prostate cancer screening for African American men using community-based participatory research methods.

For more information, see the faculty profile of Adam B Murphy, MD, MBA.

Research Coordinators

Michael Dixon, Pooja Gogana


For a complete list of publications, refer to Northwestern Scholars.

 Edward Schaeffer Lab

Concentrating on the prostate with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment outcomes, the molecular biology of lethal prostate cancer and populations at risk for aggressive, lethal disease

Research Description

Molecular biology of prostate development and prostatic disease: Dr. Schaeffer’s most basic research has focused on striking similarities between the invasive, growth charged phases of prostatic development and prostatic diseases. With this work, Dr. Ted Schaeffer proposed the concept that the lineage of a prostate epithelial cell is established early, upon exposure to androgen, and that this lineage affects subsequent re-activation of embryonic growth pathways in pathologic prostatic conditions including BPH and prostate cancer.  This body of work has resulted in an international recognition as a prostate embryologist and established the paradigm of “lineage addiction” of the prostate epithelial cell to androgen signaling.  

Clinical and molecular biology of high risk prostate cancer: Dr. Schaeffer’s clinical and molecular work has brought international recognition to the previously under appreciated observation that aggressive (high risk), localized prostate cancer is frequently lethal and often undertreated. His research  on the clinical-biologic features of men with high risk disease and the molecular underpinnings driving prostate cancers with lethal potential, has had a major impact on our understanding of the disease. His work has defined a new subset of the particularly lethal cancer, outlined the molecular basis driving them and begun to lead clinical trials designed to improve the oncologic outcomes for these men.

The impact of race on the biology of prostate cancer: African American men with prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop metastasis and die of the disease than Caucasian men. The reasons underlying this had been poorly understood however, Dr. Schaeffer’s work on this topic has revealed multiple first in field discoveries on biologic differences in prostate cancers in men of African descent. He has demonstrated a more aggressive biologic subset of cancers in African American men. Several of his teams discoveries include: (1) distinctive anatomic locations of African American tumors, (2) molecular expression signatures of African American cancers that demonstrate decreased reliance on androgen signaling, (3) novel solid tumor gene fusions and (4) divergent biomarkers panels signaling aggressive disease. His work has culminated with over 10 publications on this topic in the last several years including two publications in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. 

For more information, see the faculty profile of Edward Schaeffer, MD/PhD

Select Publications

Dr. Schaeffer's clinical and scientific focus is in prostate cancer, with an emphasis on at-risk populations, diagnosis, treatment outcomes, and the molecular biology of lethal prostate cancer. With over 225 publications, his discoveries in this field have resulted in defining manuscripts that have altered the basic scientific understanding of prostate cancer and have changed clinical care pathways.

Refer to PubMed for a full list of publications. 

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