Matthew Milowsky, MD, a UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, is the principle investigator for a large-scale, genomically driven bladder cancer study that will be the first project of the Bladder Cancer Genomics Consortium. The consortium is a collaborative effort between Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, a not-for-profit patient advocacy organization, and eight institutions.

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Matthew Milowsky, MD, is a UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

CHAPEL HILL — A UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher is helping to lead a new study of the genetic changes driving metastatic bladder cancer.

Matthew Milowsky, MD, a UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, is the principle investigator for a large-scale, genomically driven bladder cancer study that will be the first project of the Bladder Cancer Genomics Consortium.

The consortium is a collaborative effort between Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, a not-for-profit patient advocacy organization, and eight institutions. UNC is the lead institution, and the Hoosier Cancer Research Network (HCRN) is the coordinating center. The goal of the consortium is to develop an enriched understanding of the genomic profile of bladder cancer to facilitate the development of novel therapeutics. Bladder cancer is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., with nearly 75,000 new cases and 16,000 deaths in 2015.

“Improved patient care is the core of BCAN’s research initiatives,” said Milowsky, who is chair of the BCGC Genomics Advisory Board, in addition to his role as the project’s principal investigator, in a statement. “We hope this new program will be a game-changer in the field of bladder cancer research, bringing new treatment options to those who need it now, and fostering collaborative translational research that will ultimately save lives.”

Eight institutions, recognized for their expertise in bladder cancer are expected to participate in the study, including UNC, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Johns Hopkins; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; The University of Chicago; and the University of Michigan.

The participating centers will initially enroll 200 patients with metastatic urothelial cancer. Paradigm will genomically profile the patients using next-generation sequencing (NGS). The patients’ physicians will receive the results of the NGS profiles and information about potential clinical trials related to their patients’ NGS findings. HCRN will house the clinical data and biospecimens from the study, which will be accessible to all partners of BCGC for collaborative translational research and to help facilitate the development of novel clinical trials.

BCAN will invest an initial $1.6 million from private philanthropy, including the James Family

Foundation, to support the study management, support services, and genomic sequencing reporting – costs which are often a barrier to personalized care for patients.

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, Inc. is a not-for- profit organization established in 2005 as the first national patient-based advocacy organization for bladder cancer. BCAN serves as a voice for bladder cancer in the United States by providing resources to those diagnosed with the disease, their families, caregivers and the medical community.