The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., professor of surgery and chief of urology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), believes the medical community needs to do a "Manhattan Project" of prostate cancer. This project would be a large-scale study of men who are categorized by family history, medications, diet and genes and are followed for 20 years. The Manhattan Project of prostate cancer would provide a much clearer picture of which men are most at risk for the disease and which men need aggressive prevention and treatment strategies.
One of the most creative professionals in his field, Dr. Thompson already is heading a study that could be a model for the Manhattan Project. Based at UTHSCSA, the study is called the San Antonio Center of Biomarkers of Risk for Prostate Cancer (SABOR). More than 3,500 men from San Antonio and South Texas have been screened and are being followed for five years. About half of the men in the study are Hispanic or black, two groups in which more research is needed.
Dr. Thompson is the consummate physician-scientist and in 2003 was named to the Henry B. and Edna Smith Dielmann Memorial Chair in Urologic Science at UTHSCSA.
Mrs. Dielmann, a community philanthropist who also supported the San Antonio International Piano Competition, died in 2002 and left a generous portion of her estate to UTHSCSA. She was the widow of Henry B. Dielmann, prominent San Antonio attorney, three-term member of the Texas House of Representatives and former dean of the St. Mary's University Law School in San Antonio.
The Dielmanns would have been proud of Dr. Thompson in June 2003 and May 2004 when he reported to the nation findings of major prostate cancer studies. The 2003 announcement of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) provided evidence that the drug finasteride is effective in the prevention of prostate cancer. The paper was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
In a follow-up study, Dr. Thompson and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute and other institutions reported that, of the 2,950 men in the PCPT who had normal readings on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests during the clinical trial, a surprising 15 percent (449) were found to have prostate cancer upon biopsy and 67 men actually had high-grade disease. These findings also made The New England Journal of Medicine. The study demonstrates the need for more studies like SABOR, more researchers like Dr. Thompson, and one day a Manhattan Project of prostate cancer.
The Henry B. and Edna Smith Dielmann Memorial Chair in Urologic Science, invested in the Long Term Fund, had a value of $556,000 for the year ended August 31, 2004. This chair helps recognize one of the nation's leading minds in prostate cancer.