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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 26, 2008

UI Department of Urology receives $4.8 million NIH grant

University of Iowa researchers are ready to find the causes of interstitial cystitis, thanks to a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The grant is the largest ever received by the UI Department of Urology.

Interstitial cystitis is a painful bladder condition that causes excessively frequent urination and associated pain. An estimated 1.3 million Americans have the condition, more than one million of them women, according to an NIH report published in 2007.

"Some people with interstitial cystitis can't work because their symptoms are so severe. The condition has been difficult to treat because we don't know the causes," said the grant's principal investigator Karl Kreder, (photo, top), M.D., professor of urology at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

"This NIH grant will allow us to explore inflammatory factors in the bladder and, as some recent evidence suggests, whether interstitial cystitis is a total body condition," said Kreder, who also is director of urodynamics, female and reconstructive urology in the Department of Urology at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

The funding makes the UI a "Discovery Site" for the NIH's Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain Research Network. In particular, the UI researchers will explore the roles of the pituitary gland and sympathetic nervous system in the inflammatory process. Kreder said the project involves five different, but interrelated, projects and will draw on the UI's Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

One project, led by Susan Lutgendorf, Ph.D., professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, examines the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis, which helps regulate temperature, the immune system, mood, sexuality, and energy, as well as reactions to stress and injury.

A second project examining brain pathways that may govern painful syndromes is led by Satish Rao, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of internal medicine.

Catherine Bradley, M.D., UI associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, leads a third project that is focused on the epidemiology of interstitial cystitis and categorizes it by pain mapping.

The research is rounded out by two basic sciences projects -- one to develop animal models that mimic the disorder, led by Yi Luo, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of urology, and one, led by Michael O'Donnell, M.D., UI professor of urology, that examines how certain bladder factors may predispose a person to interstitial cystitis.

To learn more about interstitial cystitis, visit this NIH Web site

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Becky Soglin, 319 335-6660