NIDDK Publishes a Strategic Plan for
Research into Benign Prostate Disease
For the first time, a strategic plan for research into benign
prostate disease, based on the latest scientific knowledge, has
been published by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive
and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of
Health (NIH). The NIDDK Prostate Research Strategic Plan is
the culmination of discussions and meetings among experts over
the past two years in an effort to outline a strategic vision for
research into these elusive and multi-faceted diseases.
"The NIDDK Prostate Research Strategic Plan reflects
NIH’s commitment to advancing translational research by facilitating
planning efforts among basic scientists, clinicians, advocacy groups,
and patients," said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. "The
educational summaries in each section of the plan provide clear
explanations of the scientific data and the reasoning behind each
of the recommended research priorities."
The research area of benign prostate disease includes two of the
most significant non-cancerous disorders affecting males — benign
prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic
pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). BPH, an enlargement of the prostate gland,
is often associated with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). LUTS,
which can include symptoms such as overactive bladder, restricted
or excessive urination, and sensations of urgency, affects men
of all races and ethnic groups and can become severe over time.
An estimated 50 percent of men in their 50s have BPH and 26 to
46 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 79 have moderate to
severe symptoms. CP/CPPS is generally described as inflammation
of the prostate gland. There is no detectable bacterial basis,
but CP/CPPS sometimes is associated with urinary symptoms, pain,
and sexual dysfunction. The source of the pain in this syndrome
is unknown and there are no generally effective methods for preventing
or treating the condition.
The NIDDK Prostate Research Strategic Plan addresses
the four major research areas judged critical for advancing the
field. These include basic science, epidemiology and population-based
studies, translational research, and clinical sciences. Recommendations
from the plan include:
- Promote interdisciplinary research that focuses on how benign
prostate diseases are influenced by other organ-specific diseases
and systemic conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure,
high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and erectile
dysfunction. For example, the possible influence of high blood
pressure on BPH/LUTS is a previously unexplored area of research.
- Study the primary prevention of benign prostate diseases, including
possible benefits of lifestyle changes such as avoidance of alcohol
and caffeine, frequency of sexual practice, pelvic massage therapy,
stress reduction, and diet modulation for relief of CP/CPPS.
- Develop data and human tissue resources from patients of various
ages to derive information useful in investigating risk factors,
underlying causes and natural history of disease progression,
quality of life, quality of care, and decision making regarding
treatment of benign prostate disease. Develop imaging approaches
and other biomarker studies to assess severity and risk of progression
based on physical and cellular findings.
- Develop targeted medical therapies based on new insights into
disease-relevant cellular pathways and physiological events.
- Develop standardized, clinically significant benign prostate
disease syndrome definitions and classifications based on measurable
- Train and mentor epidemiologists, health services researchers,
clinical investigators, and students interested in the study
of benign prostate disease.
"The long-standing, unanswered questions about the causes
of these disorders prompted the NIDDK to examine the state of the
science and to develop a new vision for future research," explained
Chris Mullins, Ph.D., NIDDK’s director of basic cell biology programs
in urologic and kidney disease. "As part of this process we
convened the Prostate Research Planning Committee, composed of
clinical and basic scientists and epidemiologists from around the
country, to review and evaluate past and current research and to
make individual recommendations for new research priorities. The
NIDDK Prostate Research Strategic Plan is the result of
that collaborative effort."
The plan is designed to be read by a broad audience of researchers,
clinicians, advocacy groups, representatives of funding organizations,
and patients. Each major section includes a mission statement,
a lay summary, an overview of current knowledge, and high-priority
recommendations for future research. The plan is online at http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/318606D2-A9D1-4CAD-B9BF-8EB3009C83BE/0/NIDDKProstateStrategicPlan.pdf and
can be purchased online in print or compact disc format at http://catalog.niddk.nih.gov/PubType.cfm?Type=182&CH=NKUDIC.
NIDDK conducts and supports research in diabetes and other endocrine
and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity;
and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases. Spanning the full
spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic
groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe,
and disabling conditions affecting Americans. For more information
about NIDDK and its programs, see www.niddk.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.