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Researchers Look at Prostate Therapies

September 28, 2004

The Feinberg School of Medicine is conducting a study to evaluate several minimally invasive treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a common condition in which the prostate gland enlarges and causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms in middle aged and elderly men.

Kevin T. McVary, M.D., associate professor of urology, is the principal investigator at Northwestern for the collaborative study, sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which will investigate the long-term efficacy and safety of surgeries considered minimally invasive to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.

McVary is also a staff urologist at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Minimally invasive surgical therapies to be evaluated in the study include heat-producing microwave thermotherapy and radio-frequency energy to alter or destroy prostatic tissue. Another treatment uses a combination of medications, including finasteride, which shrinks the prostate, plus alfuzosin, which relaxes bladder and prostate muscle to improve urine flow.

In the United States, about 375 hospital stays each year involve BPH. At least one of every five men will require treatment for difficulty emptying their bladder.

In the past, treatment of BPH ranged from “watchful waiting” to invasive surgical therapy with potentially serious side effects. However, up to 30 percent of men failed to improve after surgery.

To participate in the Minimally Invasive Surgical Treatment study (MIST), you must be a man at least 50 years old; have not been treated with surgery for BPH; have not failed treatment with certain combination medicines; do not have prostate cancer, a neurologic disease that affects the bladder or any other serious medical condition that would interfere with your ability to complete the study successfully; and be able and willing to stop any other medications that may affect the prostate or bladder.

Topics: Research