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Interstitial Cystitis Research and Therapeutics to Treat Radiation-induced Proctitis

In This Video

  • Siam Oottamasathien, MD, is the director of Pediatric Urology Basic Science Research at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • His research focuses on interstitial cystitis and the treatment of radiation-induced proctitis
  • In this video, he discusses his research and advances made in treating this debilitating condition

Siam Oottamasathien, MD, is the director of Pediatric Urology Basic Science Research in the Department of Urology at Massachusetts General Hospital. In this video, he discusses his research on interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, and treatment of radiation-induced proctitis.


My research involves two lines of investigation over the last decade or so. First is an inflammatory disease that affects the bladder, known as interstitial cystitis (IC) or painful bladder syndrome; most recently, our work has been focused in on radiation-induced proctitis and therapeutics to treat that certain condition.

I feel like our research moves the needle forward in the field of urology both from a benign urologic disease platform and from a cancer stance. So I see a painful bladder syndrome as an inflammatory condition that many do not know the mechanism of, or have good therapeutic options for. So all our work is focused on developing new preclinical models to investigate IC, in addition to mechanistic findings that can help dissect out pathways in order for us to develop the third part, which is new therapeutics—all in order to help that debilitating condition.

From a cancer stance, while we rarely look at the after-effects of certain treatments, one detrimental after-effect in patients receiving radiation therapy to their pelvis, such as prostate cancer, is proctitis. So we have coupled some new biopolymer technology and a therapeutic that we developed from my previous work at the University of Utah and recently obtained funding to pursue that line of investigation for radiation-induced proctitis.

Initially my research focused on developmental biology and [did not really have] a translational aspect to it. I would say over the last eight or nine years, our work and my work has been more focused on true bench-to-bedside approaches.

What does that really mean? Well, in my mind, it means developing new therapeutics to treat both conditions involving the bladder and in the rectum. So we have coupled, for at least the bladder, unique technology of modifying a certain molecule that is very potent as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. And then from the radiation-induced proctitis side, we've collaborated with very innovative biopolymer chemists to develop a new delivery platform for our therapeutic to, again, hopefully treat radiation-induced proctitis injuries.

I think what's unique to be at Mass General is the continued support of physician-scientists, [the ability to] wear both hats, [to] not only to support my clinical services in both the clinic and in surgery but also to provide robust support from the basic research side. Even the individuals who are my collaborators and mentors now in the lab here at Mass General are all surgeon scientists, so we all can share and speak the same language as we go through the trials and tribulations. That is super unique to any institution, but it is present within my program here at Mass General.

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