Explore current clinical research projects in the Department of Urology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Predictive Biomarkers for Bladder and Prostate Cancer

This project is designed to identify additional predictive biomarkers for prostate and bladder cancer. Researchers are now analyzing various proteins found in the urine of patients with bladder and prostate cancer to determine if there are unique proteins which may be used to determine if a patient has bladder or prostate cancer. Several promising candidate proteins have been identified. Should this approach be successful, a simple urine test would replace the more invasive biopsy to screen patients for these diseases. Another area of interest is to determine whether various tumor markers will predict treatment outcome.

Device Development

Investigators are developing devices to create a 3-D map the urinary bladder for cancer patients and to determine blood vessel concentration below the surface of the bladder – a harbinger of tumor development. Researchers also hope to develop a visual system to determine nerve function of the bladder.

Urinary Stone Disease

Multiple research projects are currently focused on the prevention and treatment of stone disease. A database is being compiled of over 7,500 patients who have under-gone surgical intervention since 1995. Our physicians are investigating metabolic risk factors involved in stone disease as well as the implications of infections in these patients. These studies include research on the prevention of stone recurrence through diet and other measures as well as the prevention of infection after stone surgery. We are assessing the usefulness of advanced imaging technology including state-of-the-art techniques to enhance identification of stone composition, while limiting the potential harm of radiation. In addition, the use of a polymer to prevent stone migration during surgical procedures developed at Mass General is being evaluated.

Erectile Dysfunction Research

Research on erectile dysfunction and the restoration of nerve endings that may be injured during radical prostatectomy surgery is currently being carried out. Department of Urology faculty are involved in the use of nerve growth factors to restore erectile function in those patients who have their nerves injured or removed during radical prostatectomy.

Research on Diabetes and Urinary Dysfunction

Diabetes affects 10% of the US population and urologic issues associated with diabetes are a common complaint among many patients. Unfortunately, urologic complications related to diabetes are poorly understood and inadequately studied. Currently, researchers in the Mass General Department of Urology have developed a model that recapitulates the signs and symptoms detected in humans. This model serves as an excellent starting point to investigate the urologic complications associated with diabetes. Genetic studies will be essential in order to improve our understanding in this new field of research. With the information gained from these studies, we are confident that we can reduce the suffering of urologic complications that many diabetes patients experience.