Grants - New York - Designated Grants - 2014

Helene Furberg, Ph.D., M.D. & Vijai Joseph, Ph.D.

Funded by 2014 Wine Celebration Fund-A-Need

Standard treatment for advanced bladder cancer is platinum-based chemotherapy. Unfortunately, this kind of treatment fails in most patients, and in some, it causes life-threatening heart problems. Today, doctors have no way to figure out who would benefit from platinum-based chemotherapy. Our team of researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) thinks that there are genetic reasons why this kind of chemotherapy works for some patients and not others. Pharmacogenetics is the study of how someone’s genetic make-up influences the way they respond to a drug. The goal of our research is to conduct the most comprehensive pharmacogenetic study to date to identify genetic reasons why some patients respond to chemotherapy and some experience lethal heart problems. The generous funding from the V Foundation will allow us to study the DNA of 500 advanced bladder cancer patients from MSKCC who received platinum-based chemotherapy and were then monitored for treatment response and heart problems. We will use a new genetic tool called the OncoArray to measure over 500,000 common genetic differences in those who respond to chemotherapy and those who do not. In addition, we will perform genetic sequencing to investigate rare genetic differences that may be important. Our study has the potential to enable doctors to tailor treatment to the individual patient in order to deliver the best bladder cancer care possible.