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Release: June 16, 1999

UI to host international conference on prostate cancer

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Many men and their families know that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer affecting males with an estimated 165,000 new cases this year nationwide and 1,900 new cases in Iowa. What people may not know is that more prostate cancer research is being conducted than ever before.

To help share those research advances, scientists and physicians from around the world will gather June 24-27 at the University of Iowa for its first-ever International Conference on Prostate Cancer Research. The event, subtitled "Bridging Basic Science to the Clinic," will strengthen connections between basic research and clinical care applications for the disease. The UI department of urology, the UI Cancer Center, and the UI College of Medicine are sponsoring the conference.

"We hope the conference will have an impact on sharing knowledge of prostate cancer and how basic science can lead to clinical care treatments," said event organizer David M. Lubaroff, Ph.D., UI professor of urology and microbiology. Lubaroff also directs the UI Prostate Cancer Research Program, which brings together expertise from 11 departments.

"We're planning our own UI clinical trials for prostate cancer treatment, so it seemed like a good idea for us to organize this meeting," Lubaroff said.

Conference participants from the United States, Europe and Japan will attend five sessions that include lectures by leading experts on basic science and clinical applications followed by discussion. Topics will be prostate cancer epidemiology, prevention and control, genetic mechanisms, research models for studying the disease, prostate tumor growth and metastasis, and new and innovative therapies.

Presenters include James R. Cerhan, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic, who as a UI faculty member in preventive medicine and environmental health collaborated on research showing a higher incidence of prostate cancer among Iowa farmers. In other sessions, participants will learn more about why prostate cancer runs in some families or progresses more quickly in some men than in others. One session will look at the use of research models such as cell cultures, which allow researchers to conduct studies in less time than it would take using human models. The last session will focus on treatment developments.

"Two of the most exciting research areas in prostate cancer treatment are gene therapy and immunotherapy," said Lubaroff, who studies both types of potential therapies. "For example, we're looking at how you can turn off or on genes that are associated with the cancer, and how to harness the body's own immune system to treat the disease."

UI presenters include Lubaroff as well as Michael B. Cohen, M.D., UI professor of pathology and urology, and director of cytopathology; Mary J.C. Hendrix, Ph.D., UI professor and head of anatomy and cell biology, and associate director for basic research and deputy director at the UI Cancer Center; Timothy L. Ratliff, Ph.D., UI professor of urology; and Richard D. Williams, M.D., professor and head of urology.

For more information, contact Deborah L. Hatz at (319) 335-8599 or