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Driving Clinical Advances in Prostate and Bladder Cancer

Maha Hussain, MD, FACO, FASCO

Maha Hussain, MD, FACO, FASCO
Senior Deputy Director
Associate Director for Clinical Research
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
Genevieve E. Teuton Professor of Medicine
Feinberg School of Medicine

Q & A

What are your research interests?

I am a medical oncologist with a focus in genitourinary malignancies, particularly
prostate and bladder cancers. My research centers on novel therapeutic interventions
and the design and conduct of clinical trials, including federally-sponsored, multicenter,
investigator-initiated clinical trials.

In my clinical research, I’m particularly focused on the evaluation and integration of
biomarkers into clinical trials, to maximize the chances for therapeutic benefits.

What is the ultimate goal of your research?

My main goals are to change the standards of care and improve the quality and quantity
of life of survivorship for patients with prostate and bladder cancer. For example, I have
been fortunate to have had the opportunity to impact the standards of care for patients
with metastatic hormone-sensitive and castration-resistant prostate cancer.

How did you become interested in this area of research?

The major factor in my decision to become an oncologist, as well as a clinical
investigator with a focus on genitourinary oncology, was my experience in caring for
patients with cancer and interactions with clinical investigators during my training at
Wayne State University. While working at the VA hospital, I met many patients with
advanced cancers, including prostate cancer, and at the time there was not much to
offer them. I had firsthand experience with what patients and their families had to go
through — from the emotional and physical aspects of the diagnosis, to treatment and
downstream effects. With rapidly expanding science and discovery, there were great
opportunities to impact patients’ outcomes.

I am, first and foremost, a physician; the opportunity to care for patients with cancer
and help their families throughout the course of the disease, and to contribute to the
development of impactful therapies, are things I very much value and am passionately committed to.

What types of collaborations are you engaged in across campus (and beyond)?

I firmly believe in Team Science and collaborations. This is reflected by my current
clinical research collaborations with faculty investigators at the Robert H. Lurie
Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and several other academic institutions across the
country that are focused on therapeutic clinical trials in prostate and bladder cancers. I
continue to partner with translational and basic scientists and other clinical investigators
both institutionally and nationally to better inform the clinical research that I conduct.
In my lifetime, there has been tremendous progress in prostate cancer, and that
progress happened because of partnerships between basic/translational scientists and
clinical investigators.

Where have you recently published papers?

I have published my research in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical
Oncology, Lancet Oncology, JAMA Oncology, Cell, the Cancer, Journal of the National
Cancer Institute, Clinical Cancer Research and PLoS One, among others.

Which honors are you most proud of and why?

Throughout my career, I have been honored to receive
institutional and national awards. But perhaps the three
most recent awards are the ones of which I feel especially
proud. I was named the “2015 Giant of Cancer Care
in Genitourinary Cancer” by OncLive and received the
“2016 Faculty Mentor of the Year” in the Hematology/
Oncology Fellowship Program when I was at the University
of Michigan. The third honor was being elected to be a
member of the Board of Directors of the American Society
of Clinical Oncology.

All these awards reflect my mission to impact care and
outcomes for cancer patients, through outstanding
medicine, research, advocacy, and mentorship and
training of the next generation of medical oncologists.

Breakthroughs March, 2017
Feinberg School of Medicine Research Office Newsletter

(Last updated on March 14, 2017 )