The primary interest of Alexander S. Parker, Ph.D., is in improving the understanding of the molecular epidemiology of kidney cancer, with a particular focus on addressing clinical and public health questions related to this increasingly common human malignancy.
Specifically, Dr. Parker's approach combines study design and analytics from epidemiology with cutting-edge molecular technologies to explore questions related to the prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of kidney cancer. As part of his program, he works closely with a multidisciplinary team to ensure that the questions being studied have a high potential of being translated into a meaningful reduction in the burden of this malignancy, influencing both the individual and the population level.
- Understanding how genetics and the environment contribute to increasing (or decreasing) a person's risk of developing kidney cancer
- Improving the knowledge of how common exposures like smoking, obesity and hypertension increase the risk of developing kidney cancer
- Exploring innovative ways of enhancing detection and screening for lethal forms of kidney cancer, while not resulting in overdiagnosis of benign kidney tumors
- Examining how molecular biomarkers assist in predicting which kidney cancer patients are at risk of progressing to metastatic disease and dying (for example, studying which patients have more aggressive forms of kidney cancer)
- Evaluating new approaches to therapy for patients with localized and metastatic kidney cancer
Significance to patient care
The work in Dr. Parker's program is translating into better care and outcomes for kidney cancer patients. This includes exploring novel ways to prevent kidney cancer and identifying high-risk individuals for enhanced screening and early detection. Developing biomarker panels is also guiding the management of patients undergoing surgery for kidney cancer. Furthermore, investigating more-individualized treatments for metastatic kidney cancer and examining ways to enhance quality of life are helping patients after their diagnosis and treatment.
- Chair, Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program, 2011 and 2013
- Chair, Canadian Cancer Society review panel, 2010-2013
- External advisory committee, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, 2012
- Chair, Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program, 2007-2010
- Board member, The Judy Nicholson Foundation for Kidney Cancer Research
- Medical advisor, Kidney Cancer Association