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Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States with over 81,000 new cases and more than 17,000 deaths projected in 2022. Even with recent advances in treatments, there continues to be a tremendous need for more bladder cancer research.

The annual BCAN Bladder Cancer Think Tank Meeting is an essential vehicle for advancing collaborative research efforts in bladder cancer.  This scientific retreat is the premier annual bladder cancer-specific medical meeting in North America.   Since its inception in 2006, the Think Tank meeting has focused on identifying obstacles and creating solutions in bladder cancer research, and has fostered discussions to help define priorities for advancing bladder cancer research.  Invited participants include urologists, oncologists, researchers, pathologists, social scientists, patient advocates and industry representatives, all who are dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer.

2022 Think Tank Highlights

The 2022 Think Tank was held in Denver, Colorado. Many of the sessions were recorded and can be watched below. Check out the entire program agenda.

VIDEO: Watch the BCAN Young Investigator Presentations

Young Investigator Awardees

  • Burles A. (Rusty) Johnson, III, MD, PhD (2020), Johns Hopkins Greenberg Bladder Cancer Institute – Targeting regulatory B cells (Bregs) to improve anti-bladder cancer immunity
  • Yuki Kita, MD, PhD (2020) University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – Defining NRF2 induced tumor invasion in bladder cancer

Patient Centered Clinical Young Investigator Awardees

  • Matthew Mossanen, MD, MPH (2020), Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Identifying Patient and Providers Factors Associated with Smoking Cessation
  • Svetlana Avulova, MD (2021), Albany Medical Center – Sexual Function in Women Undergoing Radical Cystectomy

VIDEO:  Watch the Next Generation of Trials in NMIBC- Follow Up from the FDA Workshop. Co-chairs Chana Weinstock, MD, from the US Food and Drug Administration and Seth P. Lerner, MD, FACS, from Baylor College of Medicine.  This session reflected on takeaways and next steps from the November FDA workshop on clinical trial design in NMIBC. With discussion leaders: Noah M. Hahn MD, Greenberg Bladder Cancer Institute at Johns Hopkins University and Elaine Change, MD, US Food and Drug Administration

VIDEO: Watch the Exposures to Environmental Contaminants as Important Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer: Existing knowledge and future research needs. Co-chairs Joshua Meeks, MD, from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Carsten Prasse, PhD, MS,  from Johns Hopkins University. Humans are exposed to environmental contaminants but there is currently a lack of knowledge to what extent these exposures contribute to bladder cancer. What is known about the environmental toxicology of bladder cancer? May these carcinogens cause cancer at the molecular and cellular level?  With discussion leaders:  Stella Koutros, PhD, MPH, National Cancer Institute, Sunil Patel, MD, Brady Urologic Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Molly Jacobs, MPH, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production.

VIDEO: Watch the Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Awardees’ Presentations

  • Philip Beachy, PhD (2019), Stanford University School of Medicine, presented by Kris B. Prado, MD – Transdifferentiation of fibroblasts to urothelial progenitors for definitive urothelial replacement therapy in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.
  • Jeffrey Ravetch, MD, PhD (2020), Rockefeller University, presented by David Knorr, MD, PhD – Intravesical delivery of FC-enhanced CD40 against antibody for the treatment of bladder cancer.

Transforming the Future Presentations: 

  • VIDEO:  Watch “Early Screening” Co-chairs Yair Lotan, MD, from UT Southwestern and Philip Abbosh, MD, PhD, from Fox Chase Cancer Center. Screening for early cancers has the potential benefit of detecting disease when less invasive, resulting in less morbid treatments and improving survival. Renowned Mayo Clinic researcher, Minetta C. Liu, MD, highlighted her team’s first-of-its-kind blood test for breast cancer screening in asymptomatic patients. This panel explored the theory, utility, and practicality of screening asymptomatic but high-risk patients for bladder cancer using next-generation screening tools, including how screening trials might be designed.  
  • VIDEO:  Watch “Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Bladder Cancer Starts Now?” Co-chairs Randy Sweis, MD, from the University of Chicago, and Shilpa Gupta, MD, from the Cleveland Clinic. Artificial Intelligence (AI), including machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), are computational techniques designed to perform complex tasks and problem solve in a manner similar to the human mind. The use of AI is emerging as an important method to develop advanced diagnostics and therapeutics. In this provocative discussion, we explored innovative and actionable uses of ML or AI to reshape bladder cancer research and personalized clinical care. With panelists: Alexander T. Pearson, MD, PhD, University of Chicago, and Bishoy M. Faltas, MD, Weill Cornell

VIDEO: Watch the 2021 BCAN Young Investigator Awardee Presentations 

  • Brendan Guercio, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – Associations of Patient Diet and Benefit from Immunotherapy in Urothelial Carcinoma
  • Eugene Pietzak, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center –Defining the Clinical Impact and Molecular Drivers of “Secondary” Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer
  • Filipe De Carvalho, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Clonal Architecture and Tumor Microenvironment of Cisplatin Resistant Localized Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
  • Benjamin Miron, MD, Fox – Relationship of Circulating Tumor DNA in Patients with Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer to Pathologic Staging and Disease Prognosis

VIDEO: Watch “Germline Genetics in Bladder Cancer.” Co-chairs Bishoy M. Faltas, MD, Weill-Cornell Medicine, and Guru Sonpavde, MD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Clinically significant germline variants exist in bladder cancer patients. Should there be universal germline genetic testing offered to all bladder/urothelial carcinoma patients? This session included a discussion of surveillance of patients with Lynch syndrome and helped determine the best biomarkers for trials testing germline-directed therapies in patients with urothelial carcinoma. With discussion leader: Marianne Dubard-Gault, MD, MS,  Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

VIDEO: Watch “Identifying and mobilizing stakeholders and allies for health equity in bladder cancer.” Chair  Samuel L. Washington III, MD, MAS, University of California San Francisco. In this timely discussion, Dr. Washington defines equity across multiple ‘levels’ of healthcare (patient, facility, healthcare system) to understand what the actionable targets are for improving equity in bladder cancer care. As we identify key stakeholders and allies within each of these levels and their potential roles in efforts to improve health equity, the discussion helps BCAN leverage resources to promote health equity for our patients with bladder cancer. 

VIDEO: Watch “Sexual Intelligence in Bladder Cancer.” Co-chairs Svetlana Avulova, MD, Albany Medical Center, and Daniela Wittmann, PhD, LMSW, University of Michigan School of Medicine. Expectations of the impact of bladder cancer treatment on sexual practices differ from the patient, partner, and clinician perspectives. What is sexually “normal” for patients diagnosed with bladder cancer? How can clinicians and patients work to optimize sexual outcomes throughout treatment and into survivorship? This discussion with leading sexual and urologic experts helped to identify opportunities for both research and education to support sexual health after bladder cancer.  With discussion leaders: Carol P. Milam, MD, and Douglas Milam, MD, Vanderbilt University, and John P. Mulhall MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

VIDEO: Watch “Advances in Organ-Sparing Management for Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer.” Co-chairs Kent W. Mouw, MD, PhD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute,  Petros Grivas, MD, PhD, University of Washington, and John Sfakianos, MD, Mt. Sinai with BCAN patient advocate Robert Schreiber.  Radical cystectomy has been the most widely used curative treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). Selecting patients for organ-sparing treatment is currently based mainly on clinical factors; however, multiple ongoing studies are investigating molecular features that may help improve patient selection. This panel focused on recent advances in organ-sparing treatment approaches for MIBC, to highlight ongoing studies, identify critical unmet needs, and provide recommendations for future directions. With discussion leaders: Leslie Ballas, MD, Keck School of Medicine, Bernard H. Bochner, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, Benjamin Miron, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Jason Efstathiou, MD, DPhil, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Elizabeth Plimack, MD, MS, Fox Chase Cancer Center.

2021 Think Tank Highlights

The 2021 Bladder Cancer Think was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following recorded sessions are available for viewing:

Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Awardee, Michael M. Shen, PhD, presenting his 2018 BCAN funded project “Modeling bladder cancer metastasis using human patient-derived tumor organoids.” Moderator: Sima Porten, MD View recording here.

Tuning the Immune Microenvironment for Immunotherapy Response. Co-Chairs Ben Vincent, MD, and Thomas Powles, MBBS, MRCP, MD. View recording here.

Biologic Sex Differences in Bladder Cancer. Co-Chairs Debasish Sundi, MD and Sean Li, MD. Watch Friday recording here. Watch Saturday recording here.

Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine Cancer Care: Focus on Bladder Cancer. Co-Chairs Sanjay Reddy, MD, FACP, and Viraj Master, MD, PhD, FACS. View Friday recording here. View Saturday recording here.

Long Term Management of Urinary Diversions – Beyond Selection to Management of Diversions.  Co-Chairs Anne Schuckman, MD, Kamal Pohar, MD and Sylvia Rodriguez, MS with Miriam Quinn, BSN, CWON and Debra McCamish, RN, CWON. Watch the Friday recording here. Watch the Saturday recording here.

Starting Early: Perioperative Optimization Interventions to Enhance Outcomes for Radical Cystectomy. Co-Chairs Sarah Psutka, MD, MSc, and Sia Daneshmand, MD. Watch Friday recording here. Watch Saturday recording here.

Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine Cancer Care: Focus on Bladder Cancer. Co-Chairs Sanjay Reddy, MD, FACP, and Viraj Master, MD, PhD, FACS. Watch the Friday recording here. Watch the Saturday recording here.

Hematuria: the gateway to bladder cancer diagnosis. Controversies regarding current management of patients with hematuria, anticipated impact of new guidelines, and the future of bladder cancer detection.  Co-Chairs Yair Lotan, MD, Dan Barocas, MD, MPH, FACS, and Robert Lipman, BCAN Research Advocate. Watch the recording here.

BCG Shortage Update – Alternatives in the Market. Co-Chairs Chana Weinstock, MD, and Peter Bross, MD. Watch recording here.

Prior Think Tank Highlights

2018 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Denver, CO



2017 Bladder Cancer Think Tank   

Charlotte, NC


Photos & Video

2016 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Denver, Colorado

2015 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Charlotte, North Carolina

Summary Proceedings

2014 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

San Diego, California

Summary Proceedings

2013 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Snowmass Village, Colorado

Summary Proceedings

2012 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Stowe, Vermont

Summary Proceedings

2011 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Coronado, California

Summary Proceedings

2010 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Traverse City, Michigan

2009 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

2008 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Mt. Tremblant, Quebec

2007 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

2006 Bladder Cancer Think Tank

Aspen, Colorado