Dr Donna Hansel Discusses Challenges When Treating Advanced Bladder Cancer

Funding is the biggest challenge scientists and clinical investigators face when trying to find successful therapies to treat advanced bladder cancer, explained Donna Hansel, MD, PhD, of University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.

Funding is the biggest challenge scientists and clinical investigators face when trying to find successful therapies to treat advanced bladder cancer, explained Donna Hansel, MD, PhD, of University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.

Transcript

What has been the challenge with finding successful therapies to treat advanced bladder cancer?

I think one of the biggest challenges, historically, has always been funding for scientists and clinical investigators to better understand the disease. There has been phenomenal advocacy through groups like the bladder cancer advocacy network to help improve the funding paradigm through their own efforts and through lobbying of the [National Cancer Institute]. It’s certainly nowhere near enough to entice people to come and spend a lot of basic science effort in this field. I think it’s changing. And I think we are going to make great progress.

I think a second aspect, as far as identifying unique therapies and bladder cancer, really has to do with building a link between what we’re understanding more and more of related to genomic alterations and being able to tie that into mechanistically what’s happening at the protein and cell level. Ultimately, as we design drug targets, we’re really looking at the protein and while the genomic signature is so important in helping us understand upstream what’s happening, I think we can’t lose focus on understanding the cell biology that accompanies that.