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This is the fourth in a series of ICS publication in collaboration with Urology News. This first, by Paula Igualada-Martinez reviewed the history of pelvic floor physical therapy. The second, by Nadir Osman reviewed the challenges of lower urinary tract symptoms related to underactive bladder. The third by Kathleen Hunter reviewed the role of the nurse continence specialist in continence services. The current article by Dominika Bijos reviews the role of basic science in urology. Below is a summary of the article. To view the entire publication click here.

At a urology research meeting in Sheffield a few years ago, a former post doctorate researcher in urology, Mathieu Boudes, said: “Stop calling it basic research, there is nothing basic about it. It is fundamental research to everything urologists do.” At the time, I did not understand . . . Norman Zinner pointed out that: “OAB is misleading because it makes it too easy for clinicians to feel that they have made a diagnosis when they have not. In so doing, it curtails further thinking and does not promote the scientific pursuit of the fact”. With 70% of cases of overactive bladder (OAB) being idiopathic, we certainly need to understand the mechanisms of the disease behind it. This is where basic research of the pathology comes in: it is an indispensable tool to control, manipulate and interrogate molecular changes behind the disease and to enable a more precise diagnosis in the future. Regarding OAB, the answer is not only in knowing how to treat people, but knowing the underlying nature of the condition itself, particularly as there are several possible mechanisms of causation of symptoms. Here, fundamental studies in animal models and test tubes can make a huge contribution to the understanding of how to tease out the different types of the condition and target therapies accordingly.

Incontinence research and practice – key abstracts from the ICS:

  • The patient vs. science
  • Tissue engineering
  • Genomics
  • The urothelium and neural interactions
  • Research on healthy bladders

What do surgeons feel about doing basic research?

Cutting-edge technology and innovations in research can be tested in a controlled environment before being trialled on patients. Examples of translation from basic science to clinical applicability are found in tissue engineering which tests new approaches that can be used in patients, and genomics which has moved from being a predominantly research technique to a clinically useful diagnostic and predictive tool.

Curiosity fuels investigators in their pursuit of answers. But in the current set-up and research environment, scientific or medical success is not achievable in isolation and requires collaborative expertise from different fields. I invite you to join me at ICS 2017 in Florence, which promises to be an excellent scientific meeting. The ICS is a multidisciplinary association pertaining to the highest scientific standards and brings together a wide spectrum of the very best minds who present research on incontinence and pelvic floor disorders, both clinical and basic science. Submit your abstract by 3 April for consideration and view the programme to see the many activities specifically targeted to basic scientists.

Additional Information:

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ICS 2017

Article by Dominika Bijos on behalf of the ICS

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