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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Urology
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Health Disparities

Understanding racial health disparities in prostate cancer aggressiveness and 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.

 

Publications

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

The laboratory of Edward Schaeffer, MD, PhD, conducts groundbreaking prostate cancer research focused on at-risk populations, diagnosis, treatment outcomes, and the molecular biology of lethal prostate cancer.  As Chair of the Department of Urology at Northwestern Medicine and Program Director of the Genitourinary Oncology Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Dr. Schaeffer is championing leading-edge explorations that are advancing scientific and clinical care pathways in prostate cancer.

Molecular biology of prostate development and prostatic disease: Dr. 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 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. Dr. Schaeffer’s work demonstrated a more aggressive biologic subset of cancers in African American men. His other 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. 

Tools to aid in clinical decision-making: One of the greatest challenges in prostate cancer management is identifying patients that will progress to advanced disease following treatment. The Schaeffer lab has developed and validated a genomic signature to predict response to anti-androgen therapies in order to guide treatment selection. The lab is currently refining this analysis to broaden our understanding of the molecular features of those who do and do not respond to treatment.

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

Select Publications


Refer to PubMed for a full list of publications. 

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