New Research Center to Focus on Prostate, Bladder, Kidney Cancer

Cleveland Clinic has formed a new Center for Genitourinary (GU) Malignancies Research, which will focus on advancing discoveries to better understand, diagnose and treat cancer of the prostate, bladder and kidney.

The center will be a cross-institute partnership with members from the Lerner Research Institute, Taussig Cancer Institute and Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute to leverage clinical strengths and a diverse patient population for translational and clinical studies.

The center will be led by Nima Sharifi, MD, who holds appointments in all three institutes. Dr. Sharifi is an expert in cancer endocrinology and metabolism, specifically prostate cancer. He has published landmark studies linking a specific genetic variant to a deadly form of advanced prostate cancer. The work has won him numerous awards, including the national Top 10 Clinical Achievement Award from the Clinical Research Forum. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and was recently elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He co-directs Cleveland Clinic's Center of Excellence in Prostate Cancer Research with Eric Klein, MD, Chair of the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, and directs the GU program of the Cleveland-wide Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also holds the Kendrick Family Endowed Chair for Prostate Cancer Research.

"Our overarching goal is to make practice-changing discoveries in GU cancer," Dr. Sharifi explained. "Combining the expertise of our medical oncologists, urologists, pathologists and radiation oncologists with disease-focused basic scientists will help us to rapidly bring transformative changes to clinical practice at Cleveland Clinic and around the world." Cleveland Clinic's urology program is ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and the cancer program is ranked No. 7. Both programs are top-ranked in Ohio.

Initial members of the center include physicians and scientists across Cleveland Clinic. A search is underway to recruit top scientists in the field. "We hope to attract additional leading urology and cancer researchers who will help bring discoveries to our patients," said Dr. Klein.

GU cancers are prevalent around the world, and prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer in American men. "The center will help streamline and focus our clinical and research efforts in GU malignancies," said Brian Bolwell, MD, Chair of Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute. "By bolstering our research in this area, we hope to also shine a light on the need to better understand these diseases," added Serpil Erzurum, MD, Chair of the Lerner Research Institute.

Stan Gerson, MD, Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, says this research expansion solidifies the remarkable accomplishments of investigators focused on GU malignancies. "This center will further link diseased-based research to the critical questions of prognosis and treatment decisions that impact patients' lives," he explained.