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Community Urologist Makes Mark in Research: An Interview with Neal D. Shore, MD

Beth Fand Incollingo
Published Online: Friday, December 20, 2013
Dr. Neal Shore

Neal D. Shore, MD

It’s almost as if Neal D. Shore, MD, was destined to conduct research, regardless of the path he took to get into the field. Translational researchers developing treatments for cancer are often based at large academic institutions. Shore was headed in that direction, but chose instead to practice urology in a community setting. He ended up finding his way into research anyway, and has made his mark over the past decade through involvement in the trials of landmark treatments for prostate cancer, including sipuleucel-T, degarelix, denosumab, abiraterone, and enzalutamide.

Based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Shore is medical director of Carolina Urologic Research Center (CURC) and a partner with Atlantic Urology Clinics, a large group of four merged practices. CURC consists of five investigator urologists and eight full-time research coordinators, and has participated in more than 250 clinical trials of urologic therapies—many of them genitourinary cancer treatments—during the past 15 years.

“What I’ve chosen to do is maintain a very robust and dedicated research site, and I’m proud of the fact that it is relatively unique,” Shore said. “While it was extremely uncommon years ago, over time there have been other independent community-based practices in urology that have become interested in clinical trial development, because there was a significant unmet need for accrual. I’ve spoken frequently on the issue, and have worked with many sites to try and help them establish what we’ve established. It helps us get answers to unmet therapeutic questions and understand whether therapies are effective, as well as offering services within communities to patients who are not responding to traditional, approved therapies.”

Improving the Outlook for Patients

Shore has been instrumental in the development of seven practice-changing drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer approved by the FDA since 2004, including chemotherapies docetaxel and cabazitaxel and the antiandrogen agent abiraterone.

He was an author of the phase III studies of the antiandrogen enzalutamide, immunotherapy sipuleucel-T, osteoclast inhibitor denosumab, and GnRH receptor antagonist degarelix, and is currently participating in phase III trials of other therapies for prostate cancer.

Although Shore wasn’t involved in the phase III trials of the recently approved radiopharmaceutical radium- 223, he was active with the Early Access Program, and is proud that, upon the drug’s approval, his site was the first in the world to administer the drug to a patient.

“None of these are ‘me-too’ drugs; they’re first in class when it comes to their mechanisms of action,” he pointed out. “Having had the opportunity to participate in the clinical trials and then the publications, and the opportunity to talk about it to my colleagues, has been extremely gratifying for me.”

Shore and his colleagues are also involved in ongoing phase III trials of potential treatments for metastatic renal cancer, including immunotherapies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Their research group has participated, as well, in trials of intravesical therapies for bladder cancer, with the goal of helping patients to avoid cystectomy.

Finally, Shore regularly publishes papers that offer overviews of, and guidance about, urologic issues. His topics have included “Treatment Patterns In Patients With Prostate Cancer And Bone Metastasis Among US Community-Based Urology Group Practices,” “Role of Testosterone In Managing Advanced Prostate Cancer,” and “Talking To Patients About Risk.”

“Probably the most unifying theme of what I’ve done in my research efforts, in addition to encouraging and promoting clinical trial research and participation, has been encouraging urologists to become enthusiastic and accepting of the new therapeutics in advanced prostate cancer, specifically castration- resistant prostate cancer, and helping them to better understand the administration of these therapies without being worried that it’s beyond their comfort zone,” Shore said. “There are many other fields that haven’t had these incredible advancements, and some have called this an embarrassment of riches. That’s why I so enjoy writing about these different therapies, presenting information about them, and discussing how and when to use them.”

Dr. Neal ShoreNeal D. Shore, MD. . . Briefly Speaking

  • Is 55 years old.
  • Has been married for 18 years and has a 15-year-old son.
  • Enjoyed the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. Shore describes the book as “a sociophilosophic review of leadership and motivations,” saying he has “found it helpful in understanding and working with others.”
  • Enjoys skiing and traveling.
  • Believes that achieving a balance between work and personal life involves a constantly evolving effort. “As long as your journey is for the most part positive, and you feel like you’re not only enriching the lives of others but maintaining your happiness, you are balancing effectively,” he said.
  • Has served in many advisory roles, including membership on the National Cancer Institute’s Genitourinary Cancer Scientific Steering Committee; the executive board of directors of the Society of Urologic Oncology; the board of directors of the Large Urology Group Practice Association; the national medical advisory board of Zero—the Project to End Prostate Cancer; and as medical director of the Myrtle Beach chapter of Us Too, a prostate cancer support group. “I’ve never run for a position or office, but have been asked to be involved,” he said, “and I feel personal satisfaction in that.”

Building a Career

At the start of his career, Shore was serving as a chief resident at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and was interested in staying on an academic track. However, he changed directions when his father died suddenly.

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