The UCLA Department of Urology is committed to ongoing Bladder Cancer research in a quest to develop new treatments and cures for all urologic conditions, along with a commitment to educate and train the next generation of leading physicians and scientists.
Dr. Belldegrun is internationally recognized in the field of surgical and medical management of urological cancers, designing and conducting large-scale clinical trials, and in the development of innovative therapies for patients with localized and metastatic kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer. Dr. Belldegrun’s research laboratory at UCLA has been a pioneer in the fields of genetic cancer therapy, immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, and targeted molecular therapy for urological malignancies.
Dr. Arie Belldegrun's research focuses on targeted specific therapy and immunotherapy of kidney and prostate cancers. Belldegrun's laboratory reported on the cloning of a tissue specific and androgen responsive novel 620 bp PSA promoter sequence and upstream sequence. The enhanced gene expression of the resulting construct, combined with its tissue specificity and androgen responsiveness, provide the foundation for the development of tissue specific vectors for prostate cancer gene therapy.
Belldegrun's laboratory also has studied the feasibility of isolating functional dentrictic cells from the peripheral blood of renal cell carcinoma patients and has compared their transduction efficiency using various methods of transferring gene markers into dentritic cells.
Arnold Chin, M.D., Ph.D, is a physician-scientist dedicated to improving the lives of patients with urologic malignancies. Focused on bladder and prostate cancer, his research team studies how the immune system recognizes and modulates cancer growth, invasion, and metastases.
Current projects include understanding the mechanisms that distinct immune pathways use to regulate tumor growth and spread, which will be important in identifying targets for novel immune-based therapies. A second area is focused on understanding bladder cancer stem cells, which may be the origin of the cancer. These cells may be resistant to current therapies. Targeting the cancer stem cell population, the team is studying the molecular and genetic mechanisms and is developing a personalized therapy program for bladder cancer patients to match specific treatments with patients. Chin hopes his studies will determine which tumors may respond to specific treatments and design novel therapeutics that optimize the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Dr. Christopher Saigal’s research is focused on the nexus of quality of care and trends in medical technology. The Urologic Diseases in America project, an ongoing, NIH-funded research enterprise, evaluates quality, cost, and technology trends in major urologic conditions such as prostate, kidney and bladder cancer, as well as benign diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and kidney stones. Over 60 policy-relevant manuscripts have resulted from this project. Other major research efforts involve finding ways to use technology to improve decision making for patients in the setting of localized prostate cancer. Specifically, this research tests ways to improve “shared decision making” using computer applications. Dr. Saigal also leads the UCLA site for two national NCI-funded trials to examine outcomes of care in men treated for localized prostate cancer.
Dr. Saigal’s research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.