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Aria F. Olumi, MD, is a urologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Urology. He specializes in the treatment of cancer and related research.
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As a urologist and dedicated physician scientist, I have always tried to bridge the gap between clinical medicine and basic science. Combining my clinical, surgical and research expertise allows me to provide the best care for my patients. My clinical expertise are focused towards prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), kidney cancer and bladder cancer.
My research laboratory that is funded by National Institute of Health is focused on examining the different growth patterns of the prostate gland in adult human males.
As the Chair of the Research Council for the largest professional urological society, the American Urological Association, I work on urologic research advocacy, grant support and education. Watch video
Learn more about Dr. Olumi
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia — an enlarged prostate — is the most common age related health issue in elderly men. In fact, it’s the most common neoplasia in humans worldwide. Prostate growth can cause urinary frequency (frequent visits to the bathroom), urinary urgency (difficulty controlling the urge to urinate), frequent nighttime urination that can affect proper sleep, slow urinary stream and difficulty emptying the bladder, pain with urination, and increased risk of urinary infection – all of which can lead to bladder and kidney damage.
Prostate growth in adult men can vary significantly. Some men grow old and have a prostate the size of a ping pong ball, while others grow old and have a prostate the size of a grapefruit. We are investigating why there is this differential growth pattern — small vs. large — for different men. One molecule that is responsible for development and growth of the prostate is 5-alpha reductase, type 2. Our laboratory is investigating how this molecule may affect the growth rate and growth pattern of the prostate gland. What our studies have shown thus far is that epigenetics, or external causes beyond genetics (environmental, societal and changes that do not directly affect the gene or DNA) can regulate 5 alpha reductase 2. We hypothesize that this epigenetic regulation may account for the differential growth of the prostate in different men.
When this gene, 5 alpha reductase 2 (SRD5A2), is turned off, the man’s prostate changes from an androgenic to an estrogenic milieu. In other words, rather than expressing male dominant hormones in the prostate, this epigenetic change causes the man’s prostate to express female hormones. We think that this change in expression from the male hormones to the female hormones may be a central component in explaining differential growth of the prostate.
View my most recent publications at PubMed
September is Prostate Health Month. MGH urologists discuss the prostate, its impact on men’s health and offer advice on PSA screenings.
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