University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center
Nancy E. Davidson, M.D.
UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5150 Centre Avenue, Suite 500
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232
Tel: (412) 623-3205
Fax: (412) 623-3210
Information on University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center
The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) is an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The 339 UPCI members are faculty of the University of Pittsburgh with a minority of UPCI members from the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. The cancer research enterprise is organized into several major areas including; basic research programs, translational research programs, disease-site specific programs, and cancer control and population sciences. There are 11 CCSG-supported programs, 4 developing programs, and 20 CCSG-supported shared facilities that provide services to UPCI members. In 2004 UPCI was ranked 12th among all Cancer Centers in NCI funding. In FY 2005, UPCI researchers received more than $159 million in research support.

UPCI investigators are leaders in molecular and medical oncology, spearheading innovative research studies to:

  • Advance our understanding of the biological basis of cancer development and progression
  • Identify new and relevant biomarkers for improved cancer detection and diagnosis
  • Develop novel therapeutics for successful and comprehensive cancer treatment
  • Establish and implement effective measures for cancer prevention
The Prostate Cancer Program (PCP)  focuses on understanding the mechanisms responsible for prostate cancer progression, identifying potential targets for more effective therapies, prevention, diagnosis, and prognosis, and developing pre-clinical and clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of interventions based on such targets. The overall hypothesis linking different PCP research projects is that alterations in different signaling pathways and androgen actions due to genetic, epigenetic and/or environmental factors and their crosstalk play essential roles in prostate cancer development and progression and provide targets for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of prostate cancer. The Program has special expertise in prostate cancer biology, androgen action, prevention, urologic surgery, clinical pharmacology, and in developing new drugs and hormone therapies. Program members have been exploring ways to overcome drug resistance to conventional therapies as well as studying the use of novel agents for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Early diagnosis can lead to the cure of prostate cancer. Current serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing has enhanced our ability to diagnose prostate cancer at early stages. Since PSA is not tumor-specific, and is also expressed abundantly by normal prostatic glandular epithelial cells, the PSA test leads to over diagnosis in some cases while missing some prostate cancers that express low levels of PSA. Thus, there is a need for new diagnostic markers that are more specific for prostate cancer. Additionally, prostate cancer is highly heterogeneous, which presents a major challenge for determining whether a patient will have rapid disease progression. Aggressive treatment of prostate cancer is often associated with side effects, but delaying the treatment of rapidly progressing prostate cancer can significantly compromise the outcome of the therapy. Thus, biomarkers for accurate prognosis are highly desirable. Several PCP investigators are trying to discover new biomarkers to improve prostate cancer diagnosis and prognosis, particularly using gene expression profiling and epigenetics studies.
*Source: National Cancer Institute

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