Newswise — LOS ANGELES (Oct. 1, 2015) – Investigators from Cedars-Sinai and the Durham Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center are teaming up to develop a better understanding of interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder disease that has few effective treatment options.
A $3 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will support the research aimed at improving the diagnosis, treatment and management of the condition, particularly among veterans. The money will be split between Cedars-Sinai and the Institute for Medical Research, a nonprofit foundation that supports research at the Durham VA Medical Center.
“To identify more effective treatments for our veterans and non-veterans alike, we must work together to gain a better understanding of the disease,” said Stephen J. Freedland, MD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Center for Integrated Research in Cancer and Lifestyle in the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Freedland has a dual appointment with Cedars-Sinai and the Durham VA Medical Center.
Interstitial cystitis is an unpleasant sensation involving pain, pressure or discomfort related to the urinary bladder. It is associated with lower urinary tract symptoms lasting more than six weeks that are unrelated to infections or other identifiable causes. Researchers will seek to understand how common interstitial cystitis is and specifically how age and gender influence risk. They will use this information to estimate the prevalence of the disease on a national scale.
“We have a large nationwide veteran population and sophisticated and integrated databases that allow our medical researchers to address the questions that remain unanswered for conditions such as interstitial cystitis across a large and diverse population,” says John Whited, MD, associate chief of staff of Research and Development at the Durham VA Medical Center. “This particular project highlights the strength of the Department of Veterans Affairs research program.”
Understanding how common the disease is will allow the appropriate resources to be directed toward treating the disease. Researchers will follow individual patients with interstitial cystitis to assess how the disease impacts the patient outcomes. Individual patients with the disease will assess how it impacts their quality of life. “Most vital, we will then assess whether an interstitial cystitis biomarker can aid in the clinical diagnosis of the disease,” said Freedland, who also serves as co-director of the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program.
Additional Cedars-Sinai scientists involved in this work include two co-principal investigators Jayoung Kim, PhD, a research scientist and an associate professor, and Jennifer Anger, MD, a urologist. Others involved in the study include Marc Goodman, PhD, co-director of cancer prevention and genetics at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and Michael Freeman, PhD, director of cancer biology and therapeutics at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
Additional Durham Department of Veterans Affairs researchers include Thomas Polascik, MD a staff physician in Urology at the Durham VA Medical Center and Co-investigator.