BCAN Announces Awardee of Its 2023 Bladder Cancer Career Development Award

$250,000 research grant aims to improve treatment outcomes for bladder cancer patients

(Bethesda, MD) Today, the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) announced the 2023 awardee of its Bladder Cancer Career Development Award, Filipe De Carvalho, MD, PhD, an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. De Carvalho’s proposal seeks to provide novel insights into treatment strategies to overcome resistance to chemotherapy and immunotherapy in patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer.

“We are delighted to make this award to Dr. De Carvalho for his promising proposal,” said Andrea Maddox-Smith, CEO of BCAN.  “Bladder cancer diagnoses in men and women are expected to rise in 2024 and the need for new and effective treatment options for patients with muscle invasive disease is crucial.”

This research project aims to improve treatments for patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer who don’t respond well to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. One of its goals is to test a new approach using a combination of chemo-immunotherapy to target a specific gene, PARP14, in immune cells called tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in mouse models of bladder cancer. TAMs are known to support cancer growth and resistance to drugs. By blocking PARP14 in TAMs, Dr. De Carvalho believes this can enhance the effectiveness of the combined treatment.

Dr. De Carvalho said, “I am honored to receive the 2023 BCAN Career Development Award. In the short term, this work will provide a roadmap of the bladder tumor microenvironment, specifically interactions between cancer cells and TAMs that contribute to resistance to chemo-immunotherapy. In the long-term, I anticipate that a better understanding of TAM biology will directly inform the design of biomarker-driven clinical trials to improve survival and alleviate the burden of bladder cancer among patients and their families.”

Dr. De Carvalho is also the recipient of a 2021 BCAN Young Investigator Award.

BCAN has committed more than $10 million in bladder cancer research to help create more and better tomorrows for patients and those who love them.  The need for new treatment options is urgent – estimates indicate that there are more than 790,000 people living with the disease in the United States and this year alone, more than 83,000 people will receive a bladder cancer diagnosis.


The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network’s (BCAN’s) mission is to increase public awareness about bladder cancer, advance bladder cancer research and provide educational and support services for the bladder cancer community.

Contact:  Mark Story
Director of Communications and Marketing