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Jeffry Simko, MD, PhD completed his BS in chemistry at the University of Delaware in Newark, where he was honored with an Analytical Chemistry Award from the University's branch of the American Chemical Society in 1984 before graduating in 1985. Simko held a number of positions while earning his PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. These included working as a Visiting Engineer for the Watson Research Center in New York; as a Research Associate participating in the Frontier Research Program at The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in Japan; and as a Visiting Scientist in the Department of Biophysics at Beijing Medical University in China. Simko continued his education, studying medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. As a medical student he was awarded three fellowships, the Howard Hughes Trust Fund fellowship, the NUC School of Medicine Foreign fellowship and the Medical Alumni Association Research fellowship.
After earning his MD in 1996 Simko completed his residency in pathology at UCSF, followed by a fellowship at Brigham and Womens' Hospital, Harvard Medical School in molecular genetic pathology. Simko returned to UCSF for additional fellowship training in surgical pathology. A member of the Pathology Department's faculty since completing his fellowship in 2002, Simko joined the Urology Department with a joint appointment in 2003. He is a member of the Prostate Cancer Center, where his efforts are focused on genitourinary pathology. Simko's research includes radiologic-pathologic correlation studies and imaging technology development, biomarker discovery, clinical-pathologic correlation studies, and tumor model construction and characterization.
National Tissue Banking efforts: Simko is Associate Director of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Biospecimen Resource (RTOG BSR). This is one of five National Tissue Banks that oversees the collection and processing of specimens obtained from patients enrolled in NCI-Sponsored oncology clinical trials, and houses over 60,000 specimens from ~25,000 patients enrolled in over 150 trials, and has extremely detailed follow-up information about patient outcomes and complications. This bank mainly focuses on genitourinary, brain, lung, gastrointestinal, head & Neck and breast cancers. Investigators can apply for access to these materials for use in translational science studies by contacting the RTOG directly at RTOG.org
In collaboration with John Kurhaenwicz, PhD and John Clarke, PhD a physicists at UC Berkeley, Simko is conducting research to identify the various tissue characteristics that correspond to the contrasts seen in prostate and renal tumor images created by imaging technologies. This research is particularly focused on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) of the prostate, and seeks to detect and follow the evolution of prostate cancer disease. It includes the development of new imaging therapies and hardware, including tumor detection using new technologies, such as Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS) and Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID). Simko has aided Chris Diederich, PhD of the Department of Radiation Oncology with the development of focal therapies for prostate cancer using high-energy ultrasound technologies.
Simko oversees the Genitourinary (GU) Oncology Program's tissue core and chairs the GU Tissue Utilization Committee; the core provides high quality tissue specimens to researchers for study. This resource is particularly important in the discovery of new biomarkers and molecular targets, which may be used to predict patient prognosis and response to therapy, with the ultimate goal of developing drug treatments. The database is responsible for providing fresh tissue specimens to researchers for tumor model construction, stem cell isolation, cell culture development and effector cell isolation. It is also responsible for histological and pathological support to researchers conducting research projects. Supported projects have included: a genome-wide study of gene copy number changes lead by Colin Collins, PhD, which aims to identify potential predictors of prostate cancer progression; various inflammatory cell studies, conducted by Hematology Oncology faculty member Lawrence Fong, MD that elucidate immune response mechanisms to prostate tumors; and prevalence studies of potential new biomarkers. The resource and these studies are possible because of the generosity of UCSF’s patients who have confidentially donated their tissues and medical information.
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