After his grandfather died of prostate cancer, Dr. Edward Schaeffer decided to pursue a career in research to help discover underlying causes of prostate cancer and new treatments for the disease.
Dr. Schaeffer has been working to understand the molecular factors that create prostate cancer and cause it to spread. He believes clues to cancer’s origins, and its subsequent pathways for growth, lie in the early development of the prostate itself.
Both prostate cancer and prostate development require male sex hormones called androgens. Dr. Schaeffer and his team have identified several new growth pathways that connect the two, and suggested that a molecule called PLA2 might link androgen-driven prostate cancer growth and prostate inflammation. He hopes that further research on inflammation, androgens, and developmental pathways may lead to new targeted therapies for prostate cancer.
Additionally, Dr. Schaeffer and his team are working to identify and define molecular subtypes of prostate cancer in patients. Schaeffer has recently published research that defines a subset of very-high-risk localized prostate cancer. By defining and prescribing outcomes for these patients, researchers will be able to better able to tailor treatments, reducing overtreatment for some men and, conversely, increasing treatment intensity in others.
Clinical Trial Keywords:
Sundi D, Wang VM, Pierorazio PM, Han M, Bivalacqua TJ, Ball MW, Antonarakis ES, Partin AW, Schaeffer EM, Ross AE. "Very-high-risk localized prostate cancer: definition and outcomes." Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease. 2013 Nov 5. doi: 10.1038/pcan.2013.46. [Epub ahead of print].
Ross AE, Feng FY, Ghadessi M, Erho N, Crisan A, Buerki C, Sundi D, Mitra AP, Vergara IA, Thompson DJ, Triche TJ, Davicioni E, Bergstralh EJ, Jenkins RB, Karnes RJ, Schaeffer EM. "A genomic classifier predicting metastatic disease progression in men with biochemical recurrence after prostatectomy." Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease. 2013 Oct 22. doi: 10.1038/pcan.2013.49. [Epub ahead of print].
Pierorazio PM, Gorin MA, Ross AE, Feng Z, Trock BJ, Schaeffer EM, Han M, Epstein JI, Partin AW, Walsh PC, Bivalacqua TJ. "Pathological and oncologic outcomes for men with positive lymph nodes at radical prostatectomy: The Johns Hopkins Hospital 30-year experience." The Prostate. 2013 Nov;73(15):1673-80. doi: 10.1002/pros.22702. Epub 2013 Sep 9.
Sundi D, Ross AE, Humphreys EB, Han M, Partin AW, Carter HB, Schaeffer EM. "African American men with very low-risk prostate cancer exhibit adverse oncologic outcomes after radical prostatectomy: should active surveillance still be an option for them?" Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2013 Aug 20;31(24):2991-7. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.47.0302. Epub 2013 Jun 17.
Sundi D, Kryvenko ON, Carter HB, Ross AE, Epstein JI, Schaeffer EM. "Pathological examination of radical prostatectomy specimens in men with very low risk disease at biopsy reveals distinct zonal distribution of cancer in black american men." The Journal of Urology. 2014 Jan;191(1):60-7. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2013.06.021. Epub 2013 Jun 14.