George M. O’Brien was a Congressman from Illinois who died of prostate cancer; in 1987, the National Institutes of Health established specialized research centers in his name, and this year, the Brady Urological Institute became one of them. The Hopkins O’Brien Center, awarded a multi-million dollar grant from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, will study novel translational approaches for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and lower urinary tract symptoms in men.
The Center will focus on three main projects:
- Exploring the role of inflammation in lower urinary tract symptoms. Inflammation is known to play a central role in prostate diseases, and this project, headed by Elizabeth Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H., will examine specific inflammatory pathways, and look for new approaches to treatment.
- Studying a novel biomarker. A protein found in the bloodstream may help doctors with early identification of more severe BPH and lower urinary tract symptoms. The study of this marker, called JM-27, or PAGE- 4, will be headed by Robert H. Getzenberg, Ph.D., Director of Research, and the Donald S. Coffey Professor of Urology.
- Looking for genetic signatures associated with lower urinary tract symptoms. This project, the first of its kind, will be led by William Isaacs, Ph.D.
In addition to these projects, this Center will provide funds for pilot projects by scientists from Hopkins and the University of Maryland.