Canadians granted millions to study alternatives for prostate and bladder diseases

For the first time in North America, non-traditional methods of treating painful prostate and bladder diseases that affect more than 50% of the adult population will be scientifically studied by a Canadian research team. Dr J. Curtis Nickel, professor of Urology at Queen’s and urologist at Kingston General Hospital has been awarded four research grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), totalling almost $8 million. He will examine alternative, complementary and novel therapies for prostate and bladder disease, in both laboratory research and clinical trials.

“For these diseases, traditional medicine has offered all it can,” says Dr Nickel. “Alternative herbal therapies – which people have been using for more than 4,000 years – complementary therapies, and radically novel treatments must be evaluated by traditional clinical scientists, to determine their true effectiveness and safety.”

The new studies involve laboratory research and clinical trials in two main areas. First, saw palmetto and pygeum, two of the most promising herbal remedies for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). This disease of aging men that occurs as their prostate gland grows can affect more than 50% of men, with half of those requiring some form of traditional medication or surgery.

Second, quercetin for the treatment of Prostatitis and Interstitial Cystitis, painful conditions of the prostate and bladder that can lead to devastating consequences for afflicted patients. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.

“One of the reasons we received these grants is that we believe the two areas of disease – one mainly in women and the other in men – are related,” says Dr Nickel. “The treatments we’re looking at, for prostate disease in men and bladder disease in women, will be very similar.”

Queen’s University, Dec 8, 2003