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UCLA Scientists Receive NIH Research Grant to Advance Adoption of Focal Laser Therapy for Prostate Cancer


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Leonard Marks, MD

Leonard Marks, MD

Shyam Natarajan, PhD

Shyam Natarajan, PhD

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (UCLA) researchers Leonard Marks, MD, and Shyam Natarajan, PhD, will lead a $3.1 million research project grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health to advance the adoption of a promising new technology to treat men with prostate cancer. By helping to increase the widespread use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided focal laser ablation, the research has the potential to vastly improve treatment options and outcomes for patients with the disease. 

The 5-year research project will build upon previous groundbreaking work led by Drs. Marks and Natarajan demonstrating for the first time that focal laser ablation could be safe and feasible when used in a clinical setting. For the new research project, Dr. Marks’ team will develop and assess a technology experience that would allow widespread clinical adoption of focal laser ablation to treat prostate cancer. It will include the creation and testing of each system technical component, followed by a multi-institution validation study in men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer both before and after treatment to assess its effectiveness. 

Treatment with focal laser ablation is not yet approved for use in prostate cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Successful completion of the project would lead to a safe, effective, economical system for clinic-based treatment of prostate cancer with minimal side effects available to tens of thousands of men every year, noted Dr. Marks. ■


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