University of Washington awarded $1 million grant
from The Paul G. Allen Foundation for Medical Research
The University of Washington Department of Urology announced today
that it has received a $1 million grant from The Paul G. Allen Foundation
for Medical Research to support continuing research by Dr. Richard
Berger on chronic pelvic pain in men.
"The Foundation is committed to supporting important medical
research which promotes and improves health care delivery to individuals
in the Pacific Northwest," said Jody Patton, executive director
of the six Paul Allen Foundations. "The University of Washington
and Dr. Berger have demonstrated encouraging progress in their previous
research, which will not only have a significant impact on the daily
lives of many people in our communities, but can be leveraged in
other health care facilities and by physicians across the country."
This grant opens the opportunity for Dr. Berger's lab to advance
more quickly in its studies of chronic pelvic pain. Already the
lab has developed a working model of idiopathic prostatitis (disease
of the prostate gland) from clinical experience and ongoing research
concerning the causes of chronic pelvic pain syndrome, or CPPS.
"This model explains many of the previously puzzling manifestations
of the disease," Berger said. "Our findings so far indicate
that prostatitis definitely involves a great deal more than the
prostate. This grant will help us expand our research into this
problem and possible solutions."
Berger's research so far has shown that application of botulism
toxin, marketed as Botox, significantly decreases pain and difficulty
with urination in men diagnosed with prostatitis in cases where
antibiotics have failed. Berger has demonstrated the presence of
spinal chord sensitization for the first time, and indicated that
this sensitization helps set up a cycle of increased pain sensitivity,
muscle spasm and increased pain from mild stimuli. Additionally,
Berger has shown that genetic and stress factors may increase the
likelihood of developing chronic prostatitis.
"Our studies have also led us to believe that the mechanism
of the vicious cycle of prostatitis pain is applicable to many poorly
understood pain syndromes in both men and women," Berger said.
"We are deeply grateful to the Foundation for its enlightened
support of this research program."
The grant will be distributed over two years, at $500,000 per year.
The Paul G. Allen Foundation for Medical Research supports innovative
programs and research that promote health, prevent disease and improve
practices and health-care delivery. Founded in 1988, The Paul G.
Allen Foundation for Medical Research ­ one of six foundations
that support the use of technology in advancing medical treatments
-- is administered through Vulcan Inc., of Seattle.