AUA Investigator Winter 2017

  AUA Investigator

Feature Articles

Research Events at the 2017 AUA Annual Meeting

AUA2017Registration is now open! Please view the full program for locations and times of research events.

Urologic Oncology Research Symposium
Friday, May 12, 2017 | 8am–5pm

The intent of the annual Urologic Oncology Research Symposium is to create synergies and foster collaboration in genitourinary oncology by bringing together scientists and clinicians in a stimulating and interactive setting toward catalyzing the translation of laboratory research to practical application. This year's topic is "Innovative Therapeutics for Personalized Medicine: From Cell and Protein Engineering to Novel Nanomedicines." This symposium will bring together world-renowned experts in protein and cell engineering, as well as nanomedicine, to communicate and discuss their most recent advances in nanotherapeutics, drug delivery, imaging capabilities and their use in treating urologic malignancies through personalized medicine.

Basic Sciences Symposium 
Friday, May 12, 2017 | 8am–5pm

This year's symposium is titled "Function and Dysfunction of Stem Cells, Regeneration, and Repair in Urology." The symposium focuses on the biology underlying tissue regeneration and repair and how this information can be used to improve our understanding of and develop novel strategies for tissue replacement within the urinary tract. Four sessions will consider basic analyses of different kinds of progenitor cells within the urinary tract; what we can learn from similar studies in other organs systems outside the urinary tract; how the host tissue environment interacts with engineered tissue constructs; and clinical implications of tissue engineering.

Urology Care Foundation Research Honors Program* 
Friday, May 12, 2017 | 5–7pm

The Urology Care Foundation Research Honors Program welcomes AUA and Urology Care Foundation research grant recipients and mentors, AUA members and leadership, award sponsors and others. The accomplishments of the Foundation's research grant programs and recipients are featured. All currently funded and graduating awardees are acknowledged during the program. One graduating awardee is recognized as the Outstanding Graduate Scholar.

The program also includes the presentation of a Distinguished Mentor Award to a senior scientist who has demonstrated a successful track record in training and mentoring research fellows. A Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a former Urology Care Foundation research grant recipient who has made significant contributions to the field of research. New recipients of the John W. Duckett, MD Pediatric Urology Research Excellence Award and the Richard D. Williams, MD Prostate Cancer Research Excellence Award will also be recognized. 
*Please note: This is an invitation-only event.

Challenges For Urologic Research Series 
Sunday, May 14, 2017 | 8am–12pm

The Challenges for Urologic Research series will focus its 2017 session on "Using Quality Improvement and EMR Data for Health Services Research." This meeting will present a broad overview of types of quality improvement and electronic medical records data and their use in research. Speakers will discuss how data are collected; data registries used in urologic research; patient access to data; and the regulatory and legal considerations of using EMR data for research.

Funding Opportunities And Grant Writing Guidance For Early-Career Investigators 
Sunday, May 14, 2017 | 1–3pm

The Funding Opportunities and Grant Writing Guidance for Early-career Investigators session is offered to assist researchers in identifying and understanding sources of funding and improving their grant writing skills. The event provides information on where to find grant opportunities, preparing effective applications and peer review processes. Presenters include representatives from federal agencies and others to provide information and insight on current funding opportunities.

Research Forum: Early-Career Investigators Showcase 
Sunday, May 14, 2017 | 3–5:30pm

The AUA Office of Research is honored to support urologic research, especially the work of early-career investigators. The annual Research Forum is the only event at the Annual Meeting that is dedicated to promoting their work, and meets a mission to showcase early-career investigators. The presenters for the Research Forum are selected from nominations made by AUA sections, affiliated societies and members of the AUA Research Council and Committees. All nominees are invited to display posters. The top nominees give podium presentations of their work during the Forum program, and first, second and third place awards are given.

AUA Research Advocacy Efforts Achieve Urology Representation on National Cancer Institute (NCI) Board of Scientific Advisors

Ian M. Thompson, Jr., MDAs a direct result of advocacy efforts leveraged by the AUA Research Advocacy Committee and Office of Research, the first urologic surgeon-scientist to serve on one of the two most prominent National Cancer Institute (NCI) advisory boards since 2012 was recently appointed to the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors (BSA).

Having an advocate for urologic research on the NCI BSA is critical in addressing the challenges that urologists have to face when competing for NCI funding. NIH advisory boards help determine investment strategies for new funding opportunities and oversee the current portfolio of extramural funding programs. The likelihood of new funding opportunities that emphasize urologic research or funding urologic research grant applications for current opportunities is significantly diminished without a champion for urologic research on the advisory board.

As we reported in the summer 2016 issue of AUA Investigator, the AUA Research Advocacy Committee (RAC), a subcommittee of the AUA Research Council, has been working to address the under-representation of urologic research expertise on relevant NIH institute advisory boards. Through this ongoing effort, the Committee learned of an opening on the NCI BSA in July 2016. The RAC and AUA Office of Research rapidly mobilized to communicate the gap in urologic expertise and indicated their willingness to identify potential candidates to the NCI. They were permitted to provide recommendations, and the RAC identified four surgeon-scientists from the urologic research community qualified to serve on the board.

In December 2016, Ian M. Thompson, Jr., MD was appointed as one of the incoming members of the Board. Dr. Thompson is President of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Medical Center Hospital and Vice President of Oncology; he was formerly Director of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas. He has served as Principal Investigator of several seminal cancer treatment trials and has authored more than 600 scientific papers. He is Past-President of the American Board of Urology. With his stature as a leader among leaders in the urology and urologic research communities, Dr. Thompson represents an ideal champion for urologic research. His appointment to the NCI BSA a major accomplishment for urologic research advocacy!

Urology Researchers Making a Difference

Jeremy P. Burton, PhD – The Microbiome and Urologic Health

Jeremy P. Burton, PhDThe Burton Laboratory is interested in all things urology, with a specific focus on the interplay between the microbiome and urological health. They took a risk when they started down this research path in 2013, as the microbiome was only likely to impact urological health through infections and kidney stones. Now this field is expanding exponentially and has quickly become much more robust than initially thought.

The largest active study at the Burton Lab seeks to characterize the microbiome of kidney stone formers using next generation sequencing technology and untargeted metabolomics. At its culmination, this study will have identified the bacteria and metabolites present in the gut, urine and kidney stones of over 200 patients. The lab is also exploring the association between biomaterial composition and the stent-associated microbiome; studying the urinary microbiome in patients with kidney and bladder cancer; assessing microbiome's effect on prostate cancer therapy and kidney transplants; and identifying the role of bacterially produced neuroactive substances in diseases such as UTI and UUI.

Microbiome Research and Urologic Care 

Until recently, microbiome implications to, and within, the urinary tract were widely disregarded by both clinicians and researchers; however, the application of 16S rRNA gene surveys to urine and tissue has changed this perspective. The Burton Lab is fortunate to be a part of Western University's Division of Urology, where they work with multiple urologists to design clinical studies targeted at increasing disease knowledge and improving patient health. Unfortunately, the application of knowledge garnered through these studies may take some time to reach clinical practice.

Research to-date suggests that the microbiome affects many aspects of urology, even though the urinary tract itself is not heavily populated by bacteria–the colon is home to most of the bacterial microbiome. Although largely based elsewhere, the microbiome is believed to influence the urinary tract through production of molecules, which are filtered by the kidney and stored in the bladder prior to excretion.

There are only a few tools and therapeutic agents currently available that effectively alter the microbiome, which include diet modifications, probiotics, antibiotics and microbial transplants. However, while most patients would accept a dietary change or probiotic to combat microbial dysbiosis associated with disease progression, would many be willing to undergo a urinary or fecal microbiome transplant (FMT)? FMT is now routinely used in Canada to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile infections. This success in turn has led to many clinical studies assessing the application of FMT to other conditions associated with an altered microbiome, such as metabolic syndrome.

Some of the microbiome/ probiotics research that can be translated more quickly will presumably be related to chronic kidney disease (CKD), kidney injury and transplant. Probiotics have been shown to improve gut barrier function, which has a role in CKD, and be a systemic modulator of inflammation. Early human and animal probiotic studies demonstrate a benefit to kidney health and their wide use in the food industry should advance their introduction to the post-surgical care regimen. Thus, benefits beyond just reducing antibiotic-associated diarrhea are likely to be realized sooner. The 1980s and 1990s also saw studies with probiotics to reduce bladder cancer recurrence, and it may be time to revisit this concept with current tools and technologies.

Mentorship at the Burton Laboratory

Upon commencing work in his current role, Dr. Burton noted a disconnect between what goes on in the laboratory and what happens clinically. He is working to instill a translational and collaborative focus for his lab's trainees by encouraging that they work closely with clinicians. Most of the lab's post-doctoral fellows and graduate students have an academic microbiology or basic science background; therefore, Dr. Burton likes to expose them to as much clinically-related experiences as possible. A key part of his program is attendance at the Division of Urology's Grand Rounds, research days and research meetings. Most of the trainee's projects have direct clinical relevance and each student is unofficially mentored by at least one of the staff urologists. In addition, students are expected to be involved in patient recruitment and sample collection, some of which is done during surgical procedures.

The Burton Lab also makes an effort to attend field-specific meetings, such as the AUA Annual Meeting and SBUR, to expose their students to the clinical advancements and latest science in the area. In 2016, the AUA organized the Basic Sciences Symposium "The Human Microbiome in Urologic Health and Disease," which was dedicated to microbiome interactions in the role of urology.

The urologic research community looks forward to impactful new discoveries to come from the Burton lab's microbiome work!

Ranjith Ramasamy, MD – 2016 Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Sponsored by the Sexual Medicine Society of North America

Ranjith Ramasamy, MDRanjith Ramasamy, MD is the Director of Reproductive Urology and Assistant Professor at the University of Miami. He is actively engaged in both clinical and translational research, and is working at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute under the mentorship of Joshua Hare, MD, with additional mentorship from Dipen Parekh, MD. His two-year Research Scholar Award, made possible by the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA), investigating the role of Leydig stem cell autograft to increase testosterone in mouse models with Klinefelter syndrome.

Klinefelter syndrome (KS) is a genetic condition that results when a boy is born with an extra copy of the X chromosome and affects 1 in 500 males. Men with KS have low serum testosterone, which can result in fatigue, depression, low libido, worsening cognition, lack of pubic and axillary hair, delayed puberty, osteoporosis and breast enlargement. The current standard of care for men with KS is lifelong exogenous testosterone therapy. However, exogenous testosterone therapy results in negative feedback on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, inhibiting follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) production, which results in infertility. However, based on a number of alarming recent studies, the FDA issued a report warning that men who take exogenous testosterone may face increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Moreover, it is well established that exogenous testosterone can have suppressive effects on LH, resulting in lower Leydig cell testosterone production and therefore in reduced intratesticular testosterone and sperm. Consequently, there is a need to develop a different long-term approach to increase serum testosterone while simultaneously preserving the HPG axis and fertility. Isolating Leydig stem cells from the testes and performing a subcutaneous autograft can not only increase testosterone but also simultaneously preserve the production of the pituitary hormones FSH and LH.

Dr. Ramasamy is evaluating the effect of Leydig stem cell autograft in mouse models and studying the mechanisms of Leydig stem cell maturation within the autograft. In addition, he is evaluating Leydig stem cells obtained from men undergoing testis biopsies for infertility. By optimizing a protocol to autograft adult Leydig stem cells from testis biopsies to an ectopic site, a safe and effective treatment for hypogonadal men can be developed. If proven successful and safe, the potential impact of Leydig stem cell autograft as a therapy to increase testosterone could be paradigm shifting for the clinical treatment of hypogonadism in men who desire children.

Mentoring is a critical component to developing the next generation of urologic researchers, and is an important criterion of the Research Scholar Award program. Mentors not only provide direction but also serve as a constant source of encouragement and support for young faculty. In addition to Drs. Hare and Parekh who are working with Dr. Ramasamy on this project, Dr. Ramasamy has also been mentored by Larry Lipshultz, MD; Dolores Lamb, PhD and Peter Schlegel, MD. Mentorship also often forms the basis for future collaborations. As a Research Scholar, Dr. Ramasamy will continue to forge a relationship with the SMSNA, a key stakeholder in the sexual function and dysfunction research space. He will be presenting his work at the SMSNA session at the 2017 AUA Annual Meeting in Boston, MA.

Dr. Ramasamy hopes that the Research Scholar Award will lay the groundwork for a successful career as a surgeon-scientist. His long term goal is to pursue a career in academic medicine with a focus on translational research in male reproduction.

Research Funding Highlights

New Physician Scientist Residency Training Program Approved by AUA Board of Directors

After 18 months of information gathering with numerous institutions, as well as guidance and approval of the AUA Board of Directors, the Office of Research is delighted to announce initiation of a pilot program for the Physician Scientist Residency Training Award. The inaugural program will open nationwide to all urology residency programs for a peer-reviewed evaluation process in Spring 2017.

The AUA, through its Urology Care Foundation, has a longstanding and robust history of investing in urologic research and has catalyzed the development of many of the outstanding physician-scientists and researchers that are leaders in urology today. However, decreased federal funding and rapidly diminishing support for research training is creating an ever-increasing hazard for the urology specialty – where the ability to conduct urologic research to improve the health of urology patients is no longer being addressed effectively. Despite the AUA's and Urology Care Foundation's investment in various research grant programs (Research Scholar, Residency Research, Medical Student Fellowship and Rising Star Awards), urology physician-scientists are now struggling disproportionately to obtain independent funding from NIH and other federal programs. Among several reasons why the urologic research community lags behind other medical and surgical specialties in securing extramural funding, one key reason is a disparity in the necessary education, training and experience conducting research that are prerequisites for designing research projects that can successfully compete for funding. While varying amounts of time are still invested into conducting research during residency or fellowship programs, in most cases, insufficient attention has been paid to properly educate the research workforce to the same degree that clinical training programs have been standardized.

Therefore, after consulting research leaders within and outside of urology to understand how to best enable the urologic research community to be competitive for the funding that makes research programs thrive, the Office of Research has developed the Physician Scientist Residency Training Award program – a program relatively rare in the field of urology, but common in other medical and surgical fields. The program is designed as a three-year research training program embedded within residency. The first year of the program focuses on didactic graduate-level courses along with rotations with leading mentors at urologic research centers of excellence, followed by committed time in an intensive research project for the final two years.

Approximately three sites will be approved to participate in an early, special residency match program to fill the initial trainee position. The matched individual, after completing the first two years of residency training, will matriculate in the in the three-year research training program – for which the Urology Care Foundation will provide $75,000 per year (total $225,000 for the research years, provided through an established Dornier MedTech endowment), followed by completion of clinical training. In addition, the program may culminate in a graduate degree.

This new and exciting program is designed to grow the population of surgeon-scientists who can effectively lead robust research programs, successfully compete for independent research funding and more effectively engage with basic scientists. Moreover, the program will complement other grant programs in supporting the Office of Research mission to increase and maintain the workforce of urology physician-scientists and researchers to catalyze the advancement of clinical practice and reduce the burden of disease on urologic patients. The support of the AUA and Urology Care Foundation Boards, along with that of the research community, will help this new program realize its full potential.

Congratulations to the 2017 Urology Care Foundation Research Scholars!

Since 1975, the Urology Care Foundation–the official foundation of the AUA–has funded more than 750 early-career scientists with nearly $30 million in research funding! The AUA and the Urology Care Foundation offer a portfolio of mentored research training awards to recruit outstanding young investigators into urologic research and foster their career success to ensure that this critical research continues.

Research Scholar Awards provide one- and two-year mentored research training awards to clinical and postdoctoral fellows who are no more than five years beyond completing a doctorate or residency, or early-career investigators who are in the first five years after beginning a faculty position. Following a rigorous peer-review process, we are excited to announce the 2017 Urology Care Foundation Research Scholars!


Mehdi Mollapour, PhD

Project Title: "Targeting the mitotic checkpoint in VHL associated kidney cancer"

Institution: Upstate Medical University

Mentor: Gennady Bratslavsky, MD

Sponsor: AUA Northeastern Section

Vivek Narayan, MD, MS

Project Title: "Comprehensive Peripheral Blood Immune Cell and Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Profiling for the Prediction of Clinical Response to Novel Immunotherapies in Renal Cell Carcinoma"

Institution: University of Pennsylvania

Mentor: Naomi Haas, MD and Erica Carpenter, PhD, MBA

Sponsor: Indian American Urological Association/Anupam Ted Kedia Research Scholar Fund

William Tabayoyong, MD, PhD

Project Title: "Phenotypic and Functional Characterization of T cells in Bladder Cancer Patients Treated with Pembrolizumab, an anti-PD1 Antibody, Prior to Cystectomy"

Institution: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Mentor: Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS

Sponsor: Society for Urologic Oncology Research Scholar Fund for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence


Marianela Dalghi, PhD

Project Title: "Regulation of Exocytosis in Bladder Umbrella Cells"

Institution: University of Pittsburgh

Mentor: Gerard Apodaca, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Northeastern Section

Jim Hokanson, PhD

Project Title: "Electrical stimulation of the urethra to prevent urgency urinary incontinence episodes"

Institution: Duke University

Mentor: Warren Grill, PhD and Cindy Amundsen, MD

Sponsor: Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction Foundation/Hari Badlani Research Scholar Fund

David Johnson, MD, MPH

Project Title: "The effect on hospital system finances of episode-based bundled payments for patients undergoing radical prostatectomy: the business case for value based cancer care redesign"

Institution: UCLA

Mentors: Mark Litwin, MD, MPH and Christopher Saigal, MD, MPH

Sponsor: AUA Western Section

Evaristus Mbanefo, PhD

Project Title: "Therapeutic Exploitation of Interleukin-4-inducing principle from Schistosoma mansoni eggs (IPSE): a Urogenital Parasite-Derived Host Immunomodulatory Protein for Hemorrhagic Cystitis and Bladder Hypersensitivity"

Institution: Biomedical Research Institute

Mentor: Michael Hsieh, MD, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Mid-Atlantic Section/William D. Steers, MD Research Scholar Fund

Aaron Mickle, PhD

Project Title: "Closed Loop Wireless Monitoring and Optogenetic Modulation of Bladder Function"

Institution: Washington University

Mentor: Robert Gereau, IV, PhD and Henry Lai, MD

Sponsor: AUA South Central Section

Alexander Pastuszak, MD, PhD

Project Title: "Characterization of the Role of NELL1 in the Predisposition to Fibrosis in Peyronie's Disease"

Institution: Baylor College of Medicine

Mentor: Dolores Lamb, PhD and Larry Lipshultz, MD

Sponsor: AUA South Central Section

Hooman Sadri-Ardekani, MD, PhD

Project Title: "In Vitro proliferation and differentiation of human Klinefelter Spermatogonial Stem cells"

Institution: Wake Forest School of Medicine

Mentor: Anthony Atala, MD

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section

Kymora Scotland, MD, PhD

Project Title: "Evaluation of the Mechanisms Underlying the Adverse Effect of Ureteral Stent Placement on Ureteral Function"

Institution: University of British Columbia

Mentor: Ben Chew, MD and Dirk Lange, PhD

Sponsor: Endourological Society/Raju Thomas, MD Research Scholar Fund

Rita Verma, PhD

Project Title: "Selective autophagy regulates membrane signaling in renal cell carcinoma"

Institution: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Mentor: Maria Czyzyk-krzeska, MD, PhD; Jun-Lin Guan, PhD; and Bruce Braken, MD

Sponsor: Indian American Urological Association/Sakti Das, MD Research Scholar Fund

Zongwei Wang, PhD

Project Title: "Obesity-associated inflammation mediates prostatic growth through switching androgenic signaling to estrogenic signaling"

Institution: Massachusetts General Hospital

Mentor: Aria F. Olumi, MD

Sponsor: AUA New England Section

Elias Wehbi, MD, MS

Project Title: "Intravesical Electromotive Drug Administration (EMDA) of Botulinum Toxin A for Pediatric Neurogenic Bladder"

Institution: University of California, Irvine

Mentor: Antione Khoury, MD and Irene McAleer, MD

Sponsor: Society for Pediatric Urology/Sushil Lacy, MD Research Scholar Fund

Ning Zhao, PhD

Project Title: "Arginine Vasopressin Receptor 1A as a Novel Therapeutic Target for Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer"

Institution: University of Miami

Mentor: Kerry Burnstein, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section

Research Resources

National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center for Cancer Genomics (CCG)

NIH NCIThe National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Center for Cancer Genomics (CCG) develops and applies genomic science to better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. A major priority of CCG's mission is to provide cancer genomic data to the research community because sharing data increases our power to understand these diseases and accelerates progress.

CCG's research portfolio includes The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a landmark genomics project begun in 2005 that characterized the genomic abnormalities underlying 33 different types of cancer. TCGA's use of advanced genomic technologies, including next-generation DNA sequencing, total RNA sequencing, epigenomic analysis, whole genome sequencing and proteome analysis, enable integrative research, and all data are anonymized to protect patient privacy. TCGA's complete set of genomic, proteomic, clinical and biospecimen data are freely available to researchers, and have been used in over one thousand peer reviewed publications. TCGA cataloged the genomic changes of eight urologic malignancies:

  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma (80 cases)
  • Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma (66 cases)
  • Clear Cell Kidney Carcinoma (536 cases)
  • Papillary Kidney Carcinoma (291 cases)
  • Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma (179 cases)
  • Prostate Adenocarcinoma (498 cases)
  • Testicular Germ Cell Cancer (150 cases)
  • Urothelial Bladder Carcinoma (412 cases)

CCG also studies the genomic underpinnings of pediatric cancers in a program similar to TCGA, called TARGET. TARGET produces high-quality data using multiple genomic platforms and makes these data available to researchers worldwide. TARGET studied three types of pediatric kidney cancers:

  • High-Risk Wilms Tumor (663 cases)
  • Rhaboid Tumor (75 cases)
  • Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidney (13 cases)

In support of CCG's mission, all data are available through a publicly accessible data portal called the Genomic Data Commons(GDC). This portal enables the integration of diverse datasets by aligning the sequence data to a common reference human genome. The GDC also accepts data submissions from organizations outside of the NCI, and provides easy-to-use data visualization tools for researchers working within the portal.

Future CCG research will focus on integrating comprehensive genomic analysis with clinical trials to derive clinically actionable insights. As these projects begin to produce data and more external organizations contribute molecular and clinical information, the GDC will grow into a more powerful knowledgebase for cancer. Ultimately, CCG's goal is to put these data together and share via the GDC to enable researchers to make new discoveries and clinicians to incorporate genomic diagnostic and prognostic insights into patient care.

To access CCG data, visit the GDC data portal
To submit cancer genomic data, visit the GDC submission portal
For help getting started, attend a GDC workshop or watch support videos.

Research and Patient Advocacy

Recent Passage of the 21st Century Cures Act Will Impact Urologic Research

Capitol BuildingThe 21st Century Cures Act ("Cures Act") provides over $4.8 billion in new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over 10 years, and reauthorizes the NIH for fiscal years 2018–2020. Of particular note to urologic researchers, some of the bill's provisions include investments in cancer research, medical devices, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, precision medicine, pediatrics and patient informatics.

Of the $4.8 billion, the bill provides $1.8 billion to support former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot initiative, which is designed to achieve a decade's worth of progress in cancer research in five years. The bill also dedicates $500 million over 10 years to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to move drugs and medical devices to patients more quickly, and provides $1 billion over two years for state grants that supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment.

The Cures Act has a provision supporting President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative, targeted toward revolutionizing how we improve health and treat disease, and promotes pediatric research by requiring the NIH to support the National Pediatric Research Network Act, comprising a consortium of research institutions dedicated to studying rare diseases or birth defects.

The bill also has several sections regarding patient informatics. It calls for guidance that clarifies how health data may be used for research purposes and encourages the exchange of health information between registries and electronic health record systems to improve patient care. It also supports the development of patient-centered electronic health records so patients have better access to their health information.

Finally, the 21st Century Cures Act recognizes the need to support young investigators and foster their career success. It creates a Next Generation of Researchers Initiative, which is designed to develop policies and programs that improve opportunities for new researchers. In addition, the bill calls for an increase in the maximum yearly loan repayment amount from $35,000 to $50,000, as part of the NIH Loan Repayment Program.

The AUA and its Office of Research will be working closely with the urologic research community, urologic research and patient advocates, NIH stakeholders and many others to ensure that urologic research, in particular that for urologic cancers, pediatric urology and early-career urology investigators, are effectively targeted in these exciting developments.

The bill can be viewed in its entirety, here.

Spotlight on the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

BCANBladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN)
by Stephanie Chisolm, PhD, Director of Education and Research

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN), a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2005, is the only national advocacy organization devoted to advancing bladder cancer research and supporting those impacted by the disease. Since its inception, BCAN has advocated for greater public awareness and increased funding for research to identify effective treatments and eventually, a cure for bladder cancer. Proud to be a member of the Urology Care Foundation's Bladder Health Alliance, BCAN works collaboratively with the medical and research professionals dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. We empower the patient community by allowing them to share experiences with others and to participate in building awareness of the need for a cure.

Through our website, patients and their friends and families find the resources and support services they need to navigate their bladder cancer journey. Our free Bladder Cancer Basics booklets and "Bladder Cancer |Get the Facts!" expert-reviewed pages provide accurate information and tips other patients wish they had known before their bladder cancer diagnosis and treatment. Conversations: Let's Talk About Bladder Cancer videos and Patient Insight Webinars bring experts directly to patients. "The New Normal: Living with a Urinary Diversion" videos profile eight bladder cancer survivors giving voice to their choice to let others know about living well with a urinary diversion.

Our Survivor 2 Survivor connects newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteer survivors who have undergone similar treatments. The Patient Survey Network funded by a grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) aims to engage bladder cancer patients and caregivers in the research prioritization process.

BCAN is on the front lines advocating for and funding research that will identify and deliver cutting-edge methods of diagnosing and treating bladder cancer. Our goal is to support the most promising and committed young scientists as well as experienced investigators to provide the greatest opportunity to advance the understanding and treatment of bladder cancer.

Since 2015, BCAN and the AUA have partnered in their efforts to advocate for increased federal funding for bladder cancer research. We supported efforts that successfully secured new bladder cancer funding for the first time through the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, and are actively advocating for a stand-alone DoD program for bladder cancer research in the future.

Raising the bar on research, BCAN launched its Young Investigator Awards in 2013. These grants fund researchers who may be working in basic, translational, clinical, epidemiologic, bioengineering or any other scientific or research field. In 2014, BCAN introduced the Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award of $300,000 over a two-year period for an experienced investigator who will break new ground in the field of bladder cancer. The aim of the award is to support exceptionally novel and creative projects with great potential to produce breakthroughs in the management of bladder cancer.

Since 2006, the BCAN Bladder Cancer Think Tank annual scientific meeting is the only medical meeting focused on identifying obstacles and creating solutions in bladder cancer research. BCAN's John Quale Travel Fellowship provides financial support to help four select research fellows pay travel expenses related to their attendance at the annual Bladder Cancer Think Tank. Travel fellows have the opportunity to present their research, network with leading bladder cancer researchers and gain insights from the Think Tank.

Did You Know?

 AUA/Urology Care Foundation Cancer Research Funding

Calendar of Research Events

Feb 16-18

2017 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Rosen Shingle Creek | Orlando, FL

Feb 28-
Mar 4

SUFU 2017 Winter Meeting

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa | Scottsdale, AZ

Mar 5-7

The 12th Annual Urology Joint Advocacy Conference

Willard InterContinental | Washington, D.C

Mar 9-10

3rd Annual CURE-UAB Congress

Hyatt Regency Washington | Washington, D.C.

Mar 23-26

81st Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of the AUA

Hilton Austin | Austin, TX

Mar 30-31

Individualizing Treatment: Broadening the Framework for Urinary Incontinence Research

NIH Campus | Bethesda, MD

Apr 1-5

AACR Annual Meeting 2017

Walter E. Washington Convention Center | Washington, D.C

Apr 26-28

Network of Minority Health Research Investigators (NMRI) 15th Annual Workshop

Double Tree Hotel Bethesda | Bethesda, MD

May 12-16

AUA Annual Meeting

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center | Boston, MA

Opportunities in Urologic Research

Are You Recruiting?

We encourage the submission of employment opportunities in urologic research—trainees and faculty only—to be posted in our next issue, which will be released this December. Submission is no guarantee of publication. Please contact the AUA Office of Research with any questions.

Stay Connected!


Eureka! is a bi-monthly email newsletter that contains urology research news, funding opportunities and updates from the AUA Office of Research. View the most recent issue!

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  Urology Care Foundation

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