Urology Department Implements Strategy to Expand Clinical Trials

Feb. 8, 2023

In implementing a strategy to expand its clinical trials portfolio, URMC’s Department of Urology continues to build on its leadership as one of the most active urologic research centers in Upstate New York and on the University’s clinical research legacy.

A forerunner in clinical research resulting in scientific breakthroughs and improved patient care, the Department has expanded the number of clinical trials. Currently, it is conducting several NIH-funded cooperative studies, industry-sponsored and investigator studies. Research focuses on areas such as bladder cancer, kidney stones, renal cell carcinoma and prostate cancer. Four other studies are also in the pipeline.

Thomas Frye, D.O., Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs and Assistant Director of Clinical Trials, recently opened the PRESERVE Trial, a focal therapy clinical trial looking at treating prostate cancer utilizing irreversible electroporation (IRE). URMC is one of only 15 to 20 sites in the nation participating in this study.

Through the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), Frye and the Department are evaluating whether removal of the kidney is beneficial for patients with metastatic kidney cancer instead of immunotherapy alone. The PROBE study (S-1931) will evaluate cytoreductive surgery versus the standard of care in newly diagnosed patients with metastatic kidney cancer. “When you tell a patient with metastatic kidney cancer that we’re not going to remove their kidney, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to them,” Frye said. “But the only way to know whether this treatment will help patients is through a clinical trial.”  

Another current study is the result of a collaboration between the Department, URMC’s Strong Hospital emergency department, and Ortho Diagnostics. Patients in the urology clinic are asked to enroll in the study involving a new PSA test.

Rajat Jain, M.D., who focuses his research on kidney stones and enlarged prostates, appreciates the Department’s support for benign disease trials. “While not a lot of research infrastructure and funding goes into benign diseases, they are a great burden on the health care system,” he said. “As a result, more research is required in these areas, and I am pleased to work in a department that recognizes this and provides the resources we need to conduct benign disease clinical trials.”

The Department has expanded clinical trials through collaboration with the University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Office of Clinical Research, which connects faculty to relevant studies. Department researchers also work closely with URMC’s Wilmot Cancer Institute, given the common intersection of urology and oncology.

“We are extremely proud of our diverse research portfolio,” said Rachel O’Loughlin, B.S., R.N., clinical trials manager. “We have taken great steps to expand our clinical trials, with the goal of offering patients clinical trials that provide access to innovative, minimally invasive treatments that improve urological care and save lives.”

To learn more, visit the Department’s CLINICAL TRIALS website.