Congratulations to Veda Nargund Giri, MD, who recently received the “Discovery of the Year Award for Population Science” at the 2018 Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Member Retreat, held at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Giri has had long-standing interest in developing the field of genetic counseling and testing for inherited prostate cancer. She is a medical oncologist with advanced training in cancer genetics. Upon joining Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health (SKCC) as Director of Cancer Risk Assessment and Clinical Cancer Genetics in 2014, she established the Men’s Genetic Risk Clinic linked to the GU Multidisciplinary clinic — a first-in-field clinic that offers men a team approach to the treatment of prostate cancer and the opportunity to undergo genetic testing. Patients evaluated in the Men’s Genetic Risk Clinic have had the opportunity to take part in multigene testing as part of the Genetic Evaluation of Men (GEM) study, with novel findings of a spectrum of mutations in DNA repair genes in a cohort of men spanning early-stage to metastatic prostate cancer.
These findings contributed to the development of a tailored genetic counseling model for men with prostate cancer and were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology-Precision Oncology in 2017, with Giri as lead author. The genetic results of GEM also highlight the importance of considering family history for maternal and paternal sides of the family, since genetic mutations can impact risk not only for prostate cancer but also for cancers that affect both men and women.
The Men’s Genetic Risk Clinic also brought to light gaps in guidelines for genetic counseling and testing for men with prostate cancer. Therefore, the SKCC and the Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health hosted an international consensus conference (Philadelphia Prostate Cancer Consensus Conference 2017) to develop a framework for genetic evaluation of inherited prostate cancer. Giri served as co-chair of the conference, along with Leonard Gomella, MD (Chair of Urology at Jefferson Health), and Karen Knudsen, PhD (Director of the SKCC).
Giri was integral to planning, conducting, and synthesizing consensus results toward a high-impact publication, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in December 2017, where she served as lead author. The population-level impact of the Philadelphia Prostate Cancer Consensus Conference 2017 publication as well as the GEM study results led to Giri being selected as the recipient of the Discovery of the Year Award for Population Science by Grace Lu-Yao, PhD (Associate Director of Population Science at the SKCC).
“I was honored to co-chair the Consensus Conference with Dr. Gomella and Dr. Knudsen, who are thought leaders in urology and prostate cancer biology. I am also deeply grateful for my wonderful work colleagues and our study participants,” Giri said. “Lastly, I am so happy to receive the Population Science Award. Together, we can make medical and scientific progress to benefit individuals, families, and populations.”