Vol. 12 No. 5 - December, 2009

Michael Blute, MD, appointed director of the Cancer Center of Excellence

Michael Blute, MD

Michael L. Blute, MD, a physician-scientist with local ties, joins UMass Memorial Health Care and UMass Medical School as director of the Cancer Center of Excellence, professor of surgery and interim director of the Division of Urology in the Department of Surgery. A widely recognized figure in the treatment of urological cancers, Dr. Blute will be responsible for establishing clinical services across the system and advancing clinical and translational research strategies as UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial seek to build a Cancer Center of Excellence that is among the best in the country.

“Michael’s ability to articulate a vision for cancer care, research and outreach fits perfectly with our goal of creating and implementing a comprehensive care and research environment that will benefit the patients and providers of central New England,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, provost and executive deputy chancellor of UMass Medical School. “A leader in the treatment of urological cancers and the development of clinical trials, Michael will augment the significant research achievements already in place.”

Blute joins UMass Medical School from the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, where he has been the Dr. Anson L. Clark Professor of Urology since 2000. He served as chair of the Department of Urology from 1999 to 2006 and has been a member of the faculty since completing his residency in urologic surgery there in 1987.

Over the course of his career, Blute has been a key contributor at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, including roles as co-investigator on research grants in clinical oncology, genetic susceptibility in cancer and chemoprevention. He specializes in radical prostate surgery and urinary tract reconstruction after bladder cancer surgery and has developed novel surgical techniques for large kidney tumors and promoted kidney sparing surgery for small kidney tumors. He has chaired the Mayo Clinic Rochester database in prostate, kidney and bladder cancer.

His work has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the American Cancer Society, and he has served as a consultant reviewer for journals such as the Journal of Endourology, Journal of Urology, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, BJU International, New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American Medical Association. He received the 2010 Distinguished Contribution Award from the American Urological Association.

Blute has published widely on prostate and renal cancer, with a particular emphasis on improving patient outcomes and isolating genetic variation in tumor cells. Recently published work by Blute includes isolation of a link between tumor cell expression of B7-H3 in clear cell renal cell carcinoma and patient outcomes, as well as establishment of the immune cell inhibitor B7-H3 as a potential therapeutic target for certain patients with prostate cancer. Currently, Blute is co-investigator on a 10-year, multidisciplinary study funded by the National Cancer Institute to significantly reduce mortality from prostate carcinoma.

A native of central Massachusetts, Blute graduated St. John’s High School and the College of the Holy Cross before matriculating at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Creighton University School of Medicine. He joined the Mayo Clinic and Medical School in 1982 as surgical resident.