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Research

Members of the urology section are actively involved in research in the areas of prostate, bladder and kidney cancers and urinary incontinence. Our work includes basic science research, translational work and pharmaceutical studies.

Our recent journal publications

Prostate Cancer Centre

Our urologists actively collaborate with basic science laboratories at the University of Calgary, University of Alberta and Vanderbilt University. Our research focuses on investigating the checkpoints in cancer, predicting aggressive from non-aggressive disease and immune regulation of tumors in patients with bladder, kidney and prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer: We have been involved in creating the Alberta Prostate Cancer Research Initiative (APCaRI), which is a province-wide collaboration focused on developing new diagnostic tests for prostate cancer. Currently, over 1900 patients are enrolled in our prostate cancer studies with the goal of improving the diagnosis and prognosis of Albertans with prostate cancer. To this end, we are investigating the tumor micro-environment, immune regulation of tumors, and the metabolism of cancer, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Calgary and Vanderbilt University.

The Prostate Cancer Centre is also involved in investigating a novel high-resolution ultrasound device. Traditionally, prostate cancer is diagnosed with random ultrasound-guided biopsies. A Canadian-based company has recently developed a micro-ultrasound device that may have the ability to visualise prostate cancer by ultrasound. This would allow for targeted biopsies and, potentially, tumor surveillance without the need for biopsies. We are a lead site in this randomised trial. The next generation micro-ultrasound device will also be compared to MRI scans and final pathology to determine its ability to identify cancers with and without contrast enhancement.

Bladder Cancer: We are investigating how tumor cells migrate out of their primary site of origin and metastasise to other locations in the body. This work may facilitate non-invasive early detection of bladder cancer.

Our goal is to link our basic science projects to clinical variables within Alberta Health Services. We aim to have a comprehensive database that covers the whole spectrum of a patient's progress with bladder cancer, allowing clinical outcomes to be better linked to biological samples.

Kidney Cancer (Renal cell carcinoma): We are actively researching a non-invasive metabolomics/metalomic biopsy to distinguish malignant from benign lesions.

Vesia [Alberta Bladder Centre]

At vesia [Alberta Bladder Centre], the focus of research is on lower urinary tract care, access to care and patient-reported outcomes. Our team is measuring the relationship between overactive bladder symptoms and prostate cancer treatment, as well as the efficacy of botlinum toxin injection in elderly patients with overactive bladder.

Drs. Kevin Carlson and Richard Baverstock were awarded a Calgary Zone Medical Affairs Quality Improvement Initiative to develop a patient-centered discharge approach for overactive bladder. The goal of this work is successful discharge and follow-up care for patients who no longer need to see a specialist for issues with overactive bladder, but who continue to need follow-up support from a family physician.

Our research team have developed the Canadian Functional Urology Network (CFUN) to engage leaders in functional urology from across Canada on research initiatives and patient care improvements. CFUN's first collaborative project was the publication of a position paper on pelvic floor mesh for the Canadian Urology Association. Further projects are planned in the areas of lower urinary tract care, including recurrent urinary tract infections and neurogenic bladder.

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