UVA Testing New Treatment for Enlarged Prostate Symptoms

School of Medicine
November 30, 2015

University of Virginia Health System researchers have opened a national clinical trial examining a non-surgical treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate.

Also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, an enlarged prostate is a common condition unrelated to cancer that affects about 210 million men worldwide, according to researchers from UVA’s Division of Interventional Radiology and Department of Urology. By age 80, nine of 10 men have an enlarged prostate, with half of these men experiencing symptoms. Symptoms can include frequent urination, painful urination, an urgent need to urinate, excessive nighttime urination, weak urine stream and incomplete emptying of the bladder.

UVA is among a few sites in the U.S. examining the safety and effectiveness of a procedure called prostatic artery embolization, or PAE. Pioneered by interventional radiologists in Europe and Latin America, the treatment may provide a potential alternative to other available invasive surgical treatments.

During a PAE procedure, doctors make a tiny nick in the groin and guide a small tube called a microcatheter into the small arteries that supply the prostate with blood. Microparticles are injected into the arteries to block blood flow to the prostate, with the goal of shrinking the prostate and improving unpleasant urinary symptoms.

“We’re excited to study this nonsurgical option for prostate symptoms, hopefully sparing men the risks of incontinence and sexual dysfunction, in the setting of this U.S. Food and Drug Administration-monitored clinical study,” said Dr. Ziv J. Haskal, the trial’s principal investigator and a professor of radiology at the UVA School of Medicine. 

Data from the largest clinical trial to date reported sustained improvement in symptoms for 72 percent of men three years after receiving the investigational treatment.

Researchers expect to enroll 50 to 80 men, ages 45 to 80, with symptoms due to BPH who are not responding to medications or do not wish to be treated with surgery or medications.

Anyone interested in participating in this study should contact Brigitte Kelly at 434-297-7136 or bjk3c@virginia.edu. The trial is IRB No. 18236.

More information about the trial is available here.

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