The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network Announces Five Awardees of Its 2021 New Discoveries Young Investigator Awards

Awardees recognized for promising, early career research to improve outcomes for bladder cancer patients

(May 27, 2021, Bethesda, MD) – The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) today announced the recipients of its record five New Discoveries Research Young Investigator Awards that support the development of outstanding early career research scientists and clinical cancer research investigators who have shown a commitment to improving the lives of bladder cancer patients.  This is the first year that BCAN has presented five awards, noting the volume and quality of worthwhile entries received as well as the generous support of donors. 

Each Young Investigator Award provides a $50,000 grant that supports one year of early career bladder cancer research.  Since 2009, BCAN has awarded more than $5.5 million to promising scientists and research investigators across the country and these awards demonstrate that the important work to improve the understanding of bladder cancer and its impact on patients and families continues.

Two 2021 BCAN New Discoveries Young Investigator Awards went to Brendan Guercio, MD, a Hematology/Oncology Fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Eugene Pietzak, MD, Assistant Attending Surgeon (Urologic Oncology) also at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.  Dr. Guercio’s project title is “Associations of Patient Diet and Benefit from Immunotherapy in Urothelial Carcinoma” and Dr. Pietzak’s is titled “Defining the Clinical Impact and Molecular Drivers of ‘Secondary’ Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer.”

The two 2021 Palm Beach New Discoveries Young Investigator awardees are Filipe De Carvalho, MD, PhD, Urologic Oncology Fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Benjamin Miron, MD, Medical Oncology Fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.  The title of Dr. Carvalho’s awarded project is “Clonal Architecture and Tumor Microenvironment of Cisplatin Resistant Localized Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer” and Dr. Miron’s is “Relationship of Circulating Tumor DNA in Patients with Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer to Pathologic Staging and Disease Prognosis.”

The 2021 BCAN New Discoveries Young Investigator Award for Patient Centered Research was awarded to Svetlana Avulova, MD, Urologic Oncology Fellow at Mayo Clinic.   Dr. Avulova’s project is titled “Sexual Function in Women Undergoing Radical Cystectomy.”

“It is our distinct pleasure to invest in such promising early-career investigators in their quest to develop innovative approaches to improve the lives of bladder cancer patients and those who love them,” said Andrea Maddox-Smith, Chief Executive Officer of BCAN. “We also recognize the generosity of our donors who help make these awards possible, fueling today’s research to provide tomorrow’s improved outcomes.”


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.


Mark Story
Director of Communications and Marketing
301-215-9099, ext. 208