The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) community has lost all too early a good friend, esteemed colleague, and brilliant young cancer investigator, Brian Michael Olson, PhD.
Brian most recently was serving as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine, where he also was a member of the Cancer Immunology Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute.
Brian first landed on PCF’s radar in 2014 during his work as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. That year, Brian was named a PCF Young Investigator to support his work researching immunotherapies to target treatment resistance in patients towards androgen deprivation therapies, a vital ongoing concern in the world of prostate cancer. PCF quickly identified Brian as one of the youngest and brightest minds focused on prostate cancer research worldwide and sought to cultivate him and his groundbreaking discovery work to help accelerate the end of death and suffering from the disease. In fact, Brian would go on to serve as part of two separate PCF “Team Science” Challenge Award teams, one in 2014 and another in 2016, to pursue even more innovative and life-saving ideas with cross-disciplinary teams of researchers working across multiple institutions.
Brian’s passion was science. He loved the excitement of learning something truly new about the world, and Brian worked tirelessly on a wide variety of basic and translational scientific projects. “Having had close family and friends diagnosed with prostate cancer, I have experienced firsthand the devastating impact this disease can have – both on the patient as well as their loved ones,” Brian once shared with PCF. “However, I am inspired by the indefatigable spirit of those who continue the fight – especially the selfless individuals who participate in clinical trials helping to identify the next generation of treatments for those who come after them.”
Brian’s research focused on identifying combination treatment strategies to enhance the effectiveness of immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. He worked on multiple translational research projects as well as preclinical and clinical trials, with one avenue even geared towards developing a vaccine for the treatment of prostate cancer for patients with metastatic disease.
“Brian was a gifted cancer researcher and leader within the field,” says PCF Chief Science Officer Howard R. Soule, PhD. “PCF, as well as the entire cancer patient and scientific community, has lost a great treasure with his passing.”
Though the world has clearly lost Brian too soon, may his legacy in oncology research be measured in lives transformed, among both his colleagues and the patients who have benefited from his work. He will be missed. Please join PCF in honoring Dr. Olson’s life and showing love and support for his family by making a contribution to establish the PCF Dr. Brian Olson Young Investigator Award.