Cancer & Infectious Disease | Hackensack Meridian Health   

Two Renowned Investigative Teams at Hackensack University Medical Center Collaborate to Improve Patient Outcomes in Cancer and Infectious Disease

Hackensack University Medical Center’s Department of Urology is partnering with Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation to conduct important research in early diagnosis and immunotherapy of prostate cancer, as well as treatments for urinarytract infections

Urology Research 

In collaboration with the Center for Discovery and Innovation, the Department of Urology is conducting studies on advancements in treatment of urinary tract infections (UTI) and the use of a novel technology for the diagnosis of prostate cancer without painful biopsy.

  • Debra Fromer, M.D., Chief, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center,specifically investigates looking at the prevalence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens causing recurrent UTIs in female patients. UTIs are among the most frequent bacterial infections and, if not treated appropriately, can progress to more invasive clinical phenotypes. These infections are sometimes treated empirically, resulting in an increase in antibiotic exposure and the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) pathogens causing UTIs. A major clinical concern is the increased risk of harboring AMR pathogens among individuals with recurrent UTIs, defined as having two episodes within six months, or three episodes within one year. HMH will conduct a novel prospective study to determine the source of these AMR pathogens in women with recurrent UTI by determining the genetic phenotypes of organisms colonized in the urinary, genital and gastrointestinal tracts.
  • Working with the urology department at Hackensack University Medical Center, Olivier Loudig, Ph.D., Associate Scientist at the Center for Discovery and Innovation, is investigating use of a novel technology for the diagnosis of prostate cancer without painful biopsy by observing a cohort of 600 individuals with elevated PSA and a positive MRI-driven biopsy and males with diagnosed prostate cancer (but prior to any treatment). The current, most commonly used biomarker for prostate cancer is prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which has well known limitations in accuracy and requires additional testing. However, prostate cancer cells secrete exosomes, also known as prostasomes, which are only detectable in the blood of prostate cancer patients. The presence of prostasomes in the blood is in itself a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, the assay that has been designed for the purification of prostasomes requires additional testing for evaluating its robustness and usefulness in the clinical setting. Additionally, the evaluation of the cargo of the purified prostasomes may provide more information on the nature of the prostate cancer, which may help develop a molecular assay for a prostate cancer liquid biopsy rather than a tissue biopsy. Therefore, the purpose of this study is twofold: a validation phase where the purification of prostasomes will be tested on plasma collected from prostate cancer patients, as well as a molecular testing phase where the contents of the purified prostasomes will be evaluated on their ability to determine the grade of the prostate tumors.
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