Roger Li, MD, Moffit Cancer Center, was awarded the grant to study the novel oncolytic virus drug CG0070 in patients with intermediate-risk non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
Today, the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) announced the first-ever awardee of its Bladder Cancer Career Development Award, Roger Li, MD. Dr. Li is an Assistant Professor of Genitourinary Oncology at the Moffit Cancer Center and a genitourinary oncologist whose clinical practice focuses on the surgical treatment of bladder, prostate, and other cancers.
Dr. Li’s project proposal will test the safety and efficacy of a novel oncolytic virus drug, CG0070, in a small group of patients with intermediate-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Oncolytic viruses represent a new class of immunotherapy, genetically engineered to promote anti-tumor responses in patients by replicating the virus within tumor cells, resulting in tumor cell death and anti-tumor immunity.
“We are delighted to make our first-ever Career Development Award to Dr. Li for his promising proposal,” said Andrea Maddox-Smith, CEO of BCAN. “Adding yet another award to our existing research grants underscores the urgent need for new and effective treatments for bladder cancer.”
Dr. Li’s proposal will also attempt to effectively identify pre-treatment biomarkers to help predict how patients will respond to the treatment as well as “immune memory,” which has the potential to help prevent cancer recurrence.
Dr. Li added, “I am beyond grateful to receive the inaugural Career Development Award from BCAN. I look forward to developing a novel oncolytic virotherapy through the clinical trial for patients with intermediate risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Our work will also help to understand its mechanism of action so we can continue to improve on how we use this agent to bring about cures for more patients with bladder cancer.”
Since 2013, BCAN has funded more than $5 million in bladder cancer research. The need for new treatment options is urgent – there are more than 712,000 people living with the disease in the United States and this year, more than 83,000 people will receive a bladder cancer diagnosis.