Overview

Illustration of prostate tumors

The Department of Urology at Mayo Clinic has a strong legacy of urologic disease research, which is focused on developing newer and more innovative approaches to treatment that improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

The department has three investigators dedicated full-time to laboratory-based research, as well as 17 additional faculty members performing research alongside their clinical responsibilities.

Areas of research interest and expertise among Department of Urology faculty cover a wide range of urologic diseases. Faculty members work collaboratively with each other and investigators in other Mayo departments on urology-related basic, translational and clinical studies.

Basic and translational research

The Basic Urology Research Unit is comprised of several research laboratories, which together total more than 5,000 square feet. The labs are equipped for state-of-the-art molecular and cellular biology studies, development and maintenance of stable cell lines and primary cultures, biochemical and immunochemical studies, and molecular analysis of clinical specimens.

The department's translational research efforts are a bridge between its laboratory and clinical research activities. Moving a promising new treatment into the clinical setting not only benefits patients, but also gives investigators new insights into how the therapy may be fine-tuned back in the laboratory.

Most basic and translational urologic research at Mayo focuses on developing, advancing and subsequently offering cutting-edge therapies and treatment paradigms for urologic cancer patients, including investigating novel anticancer agents and technologies to be used as complements to conventional surgical therapy.

The department has two labs working on basic and translational studies:

  • Donald Tindall, Ph.D., is studying prostate cancer and the mechanisms by which prostate cancer cells survive following androgen ablation — the most common therapy for advanced prostate cancer — as well as the molecular mechanisms by which co-regulatory proteins modulate the transcriptional activity of the androgen receptor and how these proteins are altered in prostate cancer. Learn more on Dr. Tindall's laboratory website.
  • Eugene Kwon, M.D., is conducting research on methods to evoke a potent immune response to treat relatively advanced forms of urologic cancer. Specific areas of research pertain to the preclinical and clinical use of novel vaccines and antibodies to activate antitumoral T cells; the use of hormone manipulations to boost or rebuild host immunity; and the treatment of patients with immunotherapy in order to induce clinical tumor regression. A special emphasis is placed on developing highly state-of-the-art immunotherapies to be tested in clinical phase I or II trials to treat patients with prostate, kidney or bladder cancer.

Clinical research

Clinical research among Department of Urology physicians is aimed at developing innovative therapies that enable patients to receive the most advanced treatments available for urologic cancers and other urologic diseases.

The department's clinical trials — closely monitored and regulated studies in which the efficacy and safety of new drugs and treatments are evaluated — are designed in the true spirit of translational research, as laboratory discoveries are applied to patients and observations from the clinic are explored in the lab.

Ongoing clinical research in the department, including research into minimally invasive procedures, contributes to its low complication rates and improved patient outcomes.