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Dr. Alexandre Zlotta: A visionary leader
in uro-oncolgy

April 26, 2024

Dr. Alexandre Zlotta

Since his recruitment from Brussels in 2006, Dr. Alexandre Zlotta has built a powerhouse uro-oncology program at Mount Sinai Hospital. With his recent appointment as the Howard Sokolowski Chair in Uro-Oncological Research, the battle against bladder and prostate cancers has gained even more momentum.

As Director of Uro-Oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital and Associate Scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Dr. Zlotta's expertise and passion are already reshaping the uro-oncology landscape, driving significant improvements in patient outcomes.

Consider one of Dr. Zlotta's patients, Jim Shasky, for example. Jim's cancer journey began amidst the turmoil of a global pandemic when he found himself facing a diagnosis of bladder cancer. Further complicating matters, Jim found himself away from his Ontario home amidst the COVID crisis, opting instead to stay near his adult children in Manitoba. Following surgery to remove the bladder tumour (known as transurethral resection of the bladder or TURBT) and chemotherapy in Winnipeg, he faced the grim prognosis of requiring complete bladder removal for a chance at a cancer-free life. Encouraged by his urologist to seek a second opinion, Jim's dedicated family doctor in Ontario eagerly referred him to Dr. Zlotta at Sinai Health, recognizing the need for specialized expertise in his case.

Dr. Zlotta presented Jim with an alternative: a partial cystectomy procedure. This involved complete control of the tumour with intravesical immunotherapy, removing only the segment of the bladder which previously contained the tumour. Importantly, a partial cystectomy allowed the preservation of normal urination post-surgery, thus maintaining quality of life. Jim opted for this precision treatment and, a few weeks later, received the life-changing news: he was cancer-free for the first time in years.

Reflecting on his experience, Jim says: “Dr. Zlotta is not just a remarkable physician, he’s a remarkable human being. I feel so fortunate to have been in his care.”

In addition to providing compassionate care in his clinic, Dr. Zlotta's globally influential research program has garnered attention with a number of groundbreaking studies, such as the comprehensive comparison between trimodality therapy and bladder removal for select patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer published in the Lancet Oncology. Trimodality therapy involves removing the tumour from the bladder through an endoscopic TURBT surgery, followed by radiation therapy combined with low dose chemotherapy. Co-led by Dr. Zlotta, this study, conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of California, and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/Sinai Health, stands as the largest matched comparison to date of these treatment options. The findings revealed that eligible patients undergoing trimodality therapy experienced comparable survival rates to those opting for full bladder removal, providing important evidence in support of less invasive treatment approaches. Other large recent international studies led by Dr. Zlotta have used Artificial Intelligence to predict the spread of prostate cancer.

As a testament to his gratitude, Jim became a donor to Dr. Zlotta's groundbreaking research, recognizing the importance of advancing the field to benefit future patients. The productivity and global influence of Dr. Zlotta’s robust research program is impressive, especially with the addition of Dr. Christopher Wallis, an accomplished academic surgeon highly proficient in the newest techniques and a close collaborator of Dr. Zlotta. Now, as the Howard Sokolowski Chair in Uro-Oncological Research, Dr. Zlotta’s vital work will only be accelerated.


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