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2017 Montague Boyd Award

Dr. Muta M. Issa, Dr. Adam Lorentz (Resident) and Dr. John A. Petros

Dr. Muta M. Issa, Dr. Adam Lorents and Dr. John A. Petros

"Liquid Biopsy for Renal Cell Carcinoma," an Atlanta VA Medical Center research project funded by the VA Merit grant mechanism, was awarded the 2017 Montague Boyd Prize of the Southeast Section of the American Urological Association (SESAUA) at its 81th annual meeting in March in Austin, Texas. Dr. Adam Lorentz (PGY3 Resident) graciously accepted the award on behalf of research urology team that consisted of 3 Emory urology residents and 2 medical students as well as 9 faculty members (VA & Emory) who participated in this four-year project.

The Montague Boyd Prize is the SESAUA's most distinguished award. Montague Boyd, MD, of Atlanta, GA, founded the SESAUA and served as its first president in 1933 and 1934. In his honor, the Montague Boyd Prize was established in 1967, and is given to a resident, fellow, or urologist less than ten years in practice for outstanding research that impacts urologic patient care. Over the past four decades, the SESAUA has grown from 47 to 2,000 members, and currently represents the largest section of the AUA.

The Atlanta VA and Emory have now been awarded the Montague Boyd Prize for an unprecedented 2 years in a row.

The results of the VA study showed that two-thirds of patients with renal cell carcinoma can be detected with a single blood test that identifies the tumor-derived DNA mutation in the circulation.  This holds the potential for early diagnosis or screening to detect kidney cancer at an early curable stage.

"Over 14,000 patients die from renal cell carcinoma in this country each year and the Veteran and African Americans populations are disproportionately affected.  We are particularly proud to have developed this test in the VA-Emory system where so many patients could potentially benefit from an effective diagnostic test for this disease," says John A. Petros, MD, Professor and Associate Chair for Research at Emory’s Department of Urology and Director of Urological Research at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, who designed, directed, and supervised the project.

"The VA has a particular interest in renal cell carcinoma because of some of the chemicals US Veterans have been exposed to over the years," says Professor and Chief of Urology Muta M. Issa, MD, who marshalled multiple institutional resources to enable the research. "This study shows that cutting edge technology can be brought to bear on an important disease that is killing our veterans."

In addition to the Montague Boyd Prize, the project recently received Best Abstract recognition is “New Frontier” at the plenary session at the 2017 American Urological Association annual convention in Boston, MA.

Contributors to the study included Emory-VA Urology residents Dr. Adam Lorentz, Dr. Dean Laganosky, Dr. Usama A. Al-Qassab, Medical Students Christopher Keith and Fei Lian, as well as other Faculty including Rebecca S. Arnold, PhD, Kenneth Ogan, MD, Viraj A. Master, MD, PhD, John G. Pattaras, MD, David L. Roberts, MD, Sharon H. Bergquist, MD, Michael Rossi, PhD, Jeremy Goecks, PhD, Muta M. Issa, MD and John A. Petros, MD.