UArizona Urology Department Golf Tourney Raises Funds for Prostate Cancer Research

The Department of Urology at University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson recently held its second annual golf tournament at Casino del Sol’s Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson to benefit prostate cancer research at UArizona.  

The 76 tournament participants were joined by members of the UArizona men’s golf team and Banner – University Medicine Tucson nurses and medical assistants who volunteered to support the Nov. 13 event. In addition to raising funds that will benefit prostate cancer research at UArizona, the event also raised awareness about the disease.

After the final scores were tallied, Dr. Michael Abecassis, dean of the College of Medicine, welcomed participants and other guests at a post-tournament luncheon and introduced event organizer Dr. Benjamin Lee, chair of the Department of Urology.

“We truly want to thank all of the players, sponsors, nurses, medical assistants, faculty and residents who came out to support the fight against prostate cancer,” said Dr. Benjamin Lee.  “Each year our Department of Urology continues to seek additional resources to invest in research and education.”

Other speakers included Dr. Juan Chipollini, assistant professor of Urology, who specializes in surgical care for patients with prostate cancer and other urologic cancers such as bladder cancer.  Chipollini spoke about several clinical trials now underway at the UArizona Cancer Center, the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.  

In the first clinical trial, Chipollini and his colleagues are studying patients with advanced metastatic disease – where cancer has spread to lymph nodes or bone – to see if surgery or radiation is beneficial after a six-month course of total androgen deprivation (hormonal therapy). Additionally, they are studying Enzalutamide, a potent, competitive binder of androgens at the level of the androgen receptor.  

The team is focusing on the study of the drug and its effect on prostate cancer patients undergoing active surveillance.  In a third clinical trial, researchers are partnering with German biotech company BioNTech, well known for working with Pfizer to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, to study the impact of mRNA technology in prostate cancer treatments. 

Two other UArizona researchers gave updates on their prostate cancer research, which has benefitted from the funds raised at last year’s prostate cancer golf benefit.  One of the researchers is working in a new area of scientific discovery called metabolomics, which looks at nutritional biochemical pathways and developing biomarkers of aggressive prostate disease.   

Except for skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States, where one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.  Nearly 250,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2021, and on average, of 34,000 will die from the disease every year.  A man is more likely to develop prostate cancer than he is to develop colon, kidney, melanoma or stomach cancer combined.   

As the premier Arizona tertiary care referral center for localized and advanced prostate cancer, UArizona has assembled a team of specialists who provide quality care and treatment.  In addition to providing cutting-edge technology and high-quality care for those with prostate cancer including robotic surgery for localized prostate cancer, nerve-sparing robotic approach, as well as robotic surgery for high-risk Gleason 8-10 aggressive prostate cancer. These surgeons, physicians and researchers conduct and publish nationally recognized research on optimal treatments for, and early diagnosis of, prostate cancer.  The comprehensive approach to all urological cancers, including kidney cancer, bladder cancer and testis cancer allows treatment in a multi-disciplinary approach.

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