About Dr. Sartor
How Will the Funds Raised by the Baton Rouge Blue Ribbon Soirée Be Used?
The majority of money raised from the Baton Rouge Blue Ribbon Soirée will be donated to Dr. Oliver Sartor’s Prostate Cancer Research Fund at Tulane Cancer Center. Tulane Cancer Center is affiliated with the Lousiana Cancer Research Consortium.
Dr. Sartor and His Collaborative Approach to Prostate Cancer Research…
Dr. Sartor is a world-renowned prostate cancer expert and one of the few medical oncologists in the world to focus on prostate cancer. Combining basic, translational and clinical prostate cancer research and ensuring state-of-the-art clinical treatment have been the major areas of focus throughout this career.
Over the past 26 years, he has collaborated with fellow clinical oncologists and basic science researchers across the globe and has given hundreds of invited lectures and presentations on advanced prostate cancer at meetings in 33 countries. Between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, he published 36 articles or editorials in peer-reviewed medical journals (to review his publications, please click here), and he continues to serve as a reviewer for 17 academic publications, including Lancet Oncology, New England Journal of Medicine, British Journal of Urology International, the Asian Journal of Andrology, The Oncologist and others.
Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium Provides Collaborative Opportunities Here at Home…
The Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium (LCRC) is a cancer research partnership created by the Louisiana State Legislature in 2002. It provides a structure under which the best and brightest minds at the State’s leading research institutions come together and collaborate to better understand cancer.
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and Tulane University School of Medicine were the original two partners. In 2007, Xavier University of Louisiana was added as a partner, and Ochsner Health System joined in 2009.
Through the LCRC, Dr. Sartor and his team can collaborate with fellow scientists at LSU, Xavier, Ochsner and beyond. These increased opportunities for collaboration and synergy are what the LCRC is all about and ultimately aids in speeding the progress of research.
Dr. Sartor’s Research Focus…
Dr. Sartor is involved in a wide variety of clinical trials covering both translational issues and advanced treatments for prostate cancer. In some, he has served in national leadership positions – as either principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or chair of the Data Monitoring Committee.
The VISION trial, an international randomized phase III clinical trial for selected patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), is one of these. He was co-principal investigator on the trial sponsored by Novartis, along with Bernd Krause, MD, of Germany’s Rostock University Medical Center, and was the lead author on the New England Journal of Medicine publication that reported on the trial, published June 23, 2021. This was covered in The NY Times, given the significance of the findings.
The trial demonstrated that 177Lu-PSMA-617 — an engineered radioactive molecule that binds to the cell surface of prostate cancer cells — extends survival in mCRPC patients. The VISION trial is the first trial in prostate cancer using this approach to demonstrate improvements in survival, which is widely regarded as the most important demonstration of efficacy in patients being treated for cancer. This practice-changing trial is unequivocally important because it demonstrates an improvement in overall survival for patients who have very few alternative treatment options.
“The therapy is well tolerated with a low incidence of significant side effects, and we’ve had some dramatic responses,” said Sartor, who anticipates approval of this new agent by regulatory agencies across the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, within the next year.
Next steps following this proof of principle trial, according to Sartor, are to test the agent in less heavily pre-treated patients, including those diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and no prior hormonal treatments.
“This is an important new therapy. I envision that it will be used earlier in the stages of disease and new clinical trials are working on that issue right now,” Sartor said.
“Please accept my deepest appreciation for your support of the Baton Rouge Blue Ribbon Soiree. The funds raised through this event are vitally important to my team’s progress as we continue to explore a deeper understanding of prostate cancer. Through research, our collective understanding of this disease is better defined, and that means progress can follow for patients through the development of novel therapies. There is still much more to learn before we can rid families of the burden of prostate cancer. Our research will continue, and our hope is that patients will have better care. Without your support we could not accomplish nearly as much. Thank you again for your generosity.”
–Oliver Sartor, MD
Dr. Sartor’s Research Focus…
Dr. Sartor focuses much of his time on the development and implementation of clinical trials for prostate cancer. Since 2010, seven drugs have received FDA approval for the treatment of advanced disease. Dr. Sartor has been directly involved at a national leadership level – as either principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or chair of the Data Monitoring committee – for five out of the seven. These are the first new treatment options offering hope for men with advanced prostate cancer since 2004, and they were only possible through large, multi-institutional clinical research trials. Dr. Sartor is currently leading – as co-principal investigator – another large national trial that might also make a difference.
Other trials in which Dr. Sartor played key roles revealed significant results in 2018. The first showed that African-American men treated with the immunotherapy drug sipuleucel-T had a median nine-month overall survival advantage compared to Caucasian men with the disease, according to an analysis of 1,900 patients who received the treatment between 2011 and 2013. Dr. Sartor, lead author of the study, presented these data at the 112th American Urological Association annual meeting in Boston last year. “This is the first time that I have ever seen a prostate cancer treatment seemingly work better in African Americans,” said Sartor. “These new findings are very encouraging given that African-American men with prostate cancer have a mortality rate more than twice as high as Caucasian men and historically have presented with aggressive disease and have had worse outcomes in both real-world settings and controlled clinical trials.”
The second study, which was the lead article in the Feb. 2, 2018, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that adding two years of hormonal therapy to radiation treatment significantly improves survival rates for patients whose cancer returned years after surgery to remove the organ. “It more than cut the risk of prostate cancer death in half, which is quite substantial,” said Dr. Sartor. “For the first time, we now have a demonstration that hormonal therapy added to radiation can help save lives for men who have recurrent prostate cancer after surgery. That’s a very big statement.” Dr. Oliver Sartor was co-author of the study and medical oncology chair of the national committee that ran the nearly two decades-long trial. He said the study will likely help shift the standard of care for the approximately 30 percent of prostate cancer patients whose cancer returns.
A third study, published in the February 7, 2019, issue of JAMA Oncology, revealed that more than 17 percent of prostate cancer patients are born with genetic variants that can be associated with a higher risk for various cancers. Dr. Sartor was lead author on this study, conducted in conjunction with researchers from the genetics firm Invitae. The research, which is the largest study to date on the genetics of prostate cancer, also found that guidelines for genetic testing at the time of the study missed a substantial number of patients, suggesting broader testing is warranted. “This research shows the genetic risks associated with prostate cancer have been underestimated and provides support for expanding testing to include an increased number of prostate cancer patients,” said Sartor. “Expanding the use of genetic testing in prostate cancer patients can inform treatment strategies and potentially suggest treatment with targeted therapies or clinical trials. In addition, testing can provide valuable information for a patient’s family, allowing for increased screening among those at risk that can potentially help prevent additional cancer deaths.”
Dr. Sartor and his team of collaborators, both at Tulane and LSU, also continue to conduct a long-term research project that aims to better understand the genetics of prostate cancer that runs in families. The project involves the collection of clinical data and complex genetic testing of tissue samples from families that experience a large number of prostate cancer cases in an effort to determine what type of genetic defect may contribute to their increased cancer risk. Important insights into prostate cancer in one family are typically informative for a variety of other patients as well.
Proceeds from the Baton Rouge Blue Ribbon Soirèe will be used to support these and other prostate cancer research initiatives being pursued by Dr. Sartor and his collaborative prostate cancer team.