Hypothesis driven scientific research conducted in a laboratory setting is essential for discovery and subsequent clinical trials. The John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health has a team of seven cancer biologists.
The Department of Surgery, of which the Division of Urology is a member, employs a team of 20 nurses and research coordinators who oversee more than 100 clinical studies designed to evaluate new treatments. The Division of Urology employs a full-time nurse as well as a full-time data manager who coordinate several clinical studies including our prostate cancer clinical studies and our active surveillance clinical study. This study, which has currently enrolled more than 125 men, is the only institutionally approved study of its kind in the region. The goals of our active surveillance study are to spare men with prostate cancer unnecessary treatment and potential side effects and to determine which men with prostate cancer are the best candidates for this conservative active surveillance approach.
NorthShore has built its reputation on translational research, focusing its scientific inquiry on the direct improvement of clinical care and patient outcomes. The research team is involved in several initiatives including:
- Obesity and Cancer Risk: Research investigating how obesity confers an increased risk for cancer and tumor progression. Results from these studies will offer a better understanding of how fat promotes cancer growth and may provide new tests to diagnose and monitor prostate cancer progression.
- Stem Cell Research & Development of a Bioadhesive Delivery System: Selective stem cells secrete molecules that participate in creating a blockade to tumor development. They are researching the use of a fixative derived from the familiar hard clinging marine mussel to adhere stems cells to the excision site, thus, creating an immediate barrier to the growth of residual tumor cells This highly innovative approach to reducing cancer recurrence is one example of the leading-edge research being conducted by Walter Center scientists.
- Metabolomics: A new science that uses sophisticated technology to study human tissue and fluids to identify individual biologic profiles or “metabolic fingerprints” is referred to as metabolomics. These metabolic fingerprints can assist in determining prognoses and guide treatment on an individual basis in men with prostate cancer, and in men and women with other urological malignancies.
The Center for Molecular Medicine at NorthShore is focusing on the molecular basis of disease, tracking the by-products of cellular processes to identify precancerous activity and to explore early stage interventions. This offers patients new, non-invasive ways of understanding their biologic conditions and provides physicians with new tools to diagnose and treat them.
- Biomarker Research: NorthShore has a comprehensive Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory devoted to the discovery and use of biomarkers to improve patient care. Biomarkers are molecules that are found in blood, urine and tissues that help to diagnose cancer and monitor disease progression.
Medical Informatics and Clinical Outcomes Research
The Center for Clinical and Research Informatics (CCRI) at the NorthShore Research Institute is staffed with senior clinical informaticians who analyze the vast research wealth of NorthShore’s 11 million incidents of patient care in its electronic medical records (EMR) system. This analysis is yielding new insights into complex diseases, identifying opportunities to improve patient outcomes and helping NorthShore globally manage the effects of new drugs and community epidemics, as well as address the risk factors in individual and family medical histories.
At the Walter Center, each patient care experience is enhanced with the help of the EMR within this larger network of information to achieve optimal personalized care.