About Dr. Sartor’s Research


Dr. Oliver Sartor is the C.E. and Bernadine Laborde Professor of Cancer Research in the Departments of Medicine and Urology at Tulane University School of Medicine. He also serves as associate dean for oncology. He is a world-renowned prostate cancer expert and one of the few medical oncologists in the world to focus on prostate cancer. Combining basic, translational and clinical prostate cancer research and ensuring state-of-the-art clinical treatment have been the major areas of focus throughout his career.

TULANE’S PROSTATE CANCER PROGRAM IS UNPARALLELED Dr. Sartor is the leader of Tulane’s Prostate Cancer Research Program, a world-class team of cancer professionals performing cutting-edge basic and clinical research and running the largest treatment center for prostate cancer patients in Louisiana. Approximately 1,300 prostate cancer patients are treated in Tulane’s clinics each year. In addition to patients from Louisiana, Tulane has cancer patient referrals from 26 additional states and seven countries outside the United States. Some of these patients require routine occasional follow-up and some have advanced disease requiring very active management.

Dr. Sartor and his team are involved in a wide variety of clinical trials covering both translational issues and advanced treatments. They currently have about 18 protocols open and accruing patients at Tulane. In some of these trials, he holds a national leadership position.

The VISION trial, an international randomized phase III clinical trial for selected patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), is one of these. Dr. Sartor was co-principal investigator on the trial sponsored by Novartis, along with Bernd Krause, MD, of Germany’s Rostock University Medical Center, and he was the lead author on the New England Journal of Medicine publication that reported on the trial, published June 23, 2021. This was covered in The NY Times, given the significance of the findings.

The trial demonstrated that 177Lu-PSMA-617 — an engineered radioactive molecule that binds to the cell surface of prostate cancer cells — extends survival in mCRPC patients. The VISION trial is the first trial in prostate cancer using this approach to demonstrate improvements in survival, which is widely regarded as the most important demonstration of efficacy in patients being treated for cancer. This practice-changing trial is unequivocally important because it demonstrates an improvement in overall survival for patients who have very few alternative treatment options. Furthermore, the therapy is exceptionally well tolerated with a low incidence of significant side effects. Dr. Sartor anticipates approval of this new agent by regulatory agencies across the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, over the next year.

Next steps following this proof of principle trial, according to Dr. Sartor, are to test the agent in less heavily pre-treated patients, including those diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and no prior hormonal treatments. “This is an important new therapy. I envision that it will be used earlier in the stages of disease and new clinical trials are working on that issue right now,” said Dr. Sartor.

THE COMPLETE SPECTRUM OF PROSTATE CANCER RESEARCH AND CARE Tulane Cancer Center provides cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation with an emphasis on convenience for our patients and their families and with a team approach to comprehensive prostate cancer care. Our world-class program spans the full spectrum of prostate cancer care – from basic and clinical research to cancer screening and prevention to early detection and diagnosis to the latest treatment options and rehabilitation. Working along-side Dr. Sartor, Tulane’s Prostate Cancer Team includes other world-class clinicians, plus laboratory scientists who study cancer at the molecular level. The ultimate goal is to explore new avenues in the hopes of better understanding cancer and how to cure it.

RESEARCH GRANT FUNDING & PUBLICATION IN PRESTIGIOUS MEDICAL JOURNALS The answer to curing prostate cancer is research and clinical trials. Tulane Cancer Center’s prostate cancer faculty have successfully competed for millions in federal and other research funding in recent months. Dr. Sartor has published 36 articles or editorials in peer-reviewed medical journals from July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.