An Explorer's Mentality Leads to Novel Treatments in Prostate and Bladder Cancer

Ariela Katz
Published: Monday, Dec 10, 2018
Daniel P. Petrylak, MD

Daniel P. Petrylak, MD
Although he held a longtime fascination with space exploration to the moon and Mars, Daniel P. Petrylak, MD, took a different path and broke new ground in another frontier: genitourinary oncology. A job in a lab while he was still in his teens launched a career aimed at improving treatments for patients with bladder and prostate cancers.

Today, Petrylak continues to put that philosophy into action as a professor of medicine (medical oncology) and urology and as co-director of the Signal Transduction Research Program at Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

Influential Mentors

Petrylak's career began early. At just 16, he started working in a laboratory in New York under protozoologist Seymour Hutner, PhD. He was “a very interesting character,” Petrylak says, and taught him much more than science; he covered literature and music in his mentorship, as well.

Sadly, Yagoda died suddenly in 1995. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him,” Petrylak says of the man who was a key inspirational force behind his ultimate career choice.

Accomplishments With Docetaxel

During the course of his career, Petrylak has been heavily involved in researching treatments for patients with bladder and prostate cancers. “[For prostate cancer], if you go back to the 1990s, there was nothing that worked for castration-resistant disease. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of progress,” he says.
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