Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NIH Awards Top Grant to Loyola Physicians

Urogynecologists to receive funding for key women’s health study

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a Challenge Grant for $1 million to Loyola University Health System (LUHS) urogynecologists Kimberly Kenton, MD, and Elizabeth Mueller, MD. This places them among the top 2 percent of researchers in the nation to receive this grant.

“This is a significant accomplishment for these investigators and our institution, particularly given the limited number of Challenge Grants available,” said Paul K. Whelton, MB, MD, MSc, president & CEO, LUHS. “We are fortunate to have a group of extraordinarily high-caliber physicians who lead the nation in care and research related to urogynecology and pelvic surgery.”

Drs. Kenton and Mueller practice in the Division of Female Pelvic & Reconstructive Surgery at LUHS. This division will use the grant to compare minimally invasive surgical options for women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse. Prolapse occurs when the bladder or another pelvic organ drops down and pushes against the walls of the vagina. One procedure to treat prolapse is called abdominal sacrocolpopexy.

Minimally invasive abdominal sacrocolpopexy is associated with shorter hospital stays, decreased blood loss and quicker recoveries compared with traditional surgery. The primary aims of this study will be to compare costs and short-term outcomes of minimally invasive laparoscopic versus robotic-assisted abdominal sacrocolpopexy (ASC) with respect to patient recovery from pelvic reconstructive surgery.

“Few studies have compared these two minimally invasive surgical techniques,” said Kenton, who also is a professor in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Urology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM). “This study will give us greater insight and help us make more informed choices into how we manage patients with pelvic organ problems.”

This study will be one of 200 funded by the NIH. As part of the Recovery Act, the NIH designated at least $200 million for Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research. Projects receiving these funds had to demonstrate a rigorous evaluation of the impact of different options available to treat a given medical condition. They also had to focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation or research methods that will benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways.

“This grant will allow us to better understand the costs and outcomes associated with each minimally invasive technology,” said Mueller, who also is a faculty member in the Departments of Urology and Obstetrics & Gynecology at SSOM. “We anticipate that this major research study may guide doctors to the best surgical option for these women.”

Drs. Kenton and Mueller are part of a team of LUHS urogynecologists who are combining the expertise of urologists and gynecologists to transform the way women with incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders are managed. LUHS' Division of Female Pelvic & Reconstructive Surgery was the first of its kind in greater Chicago. It is still one of the few centers in the country that offers a single location for the diagnosis and treatment of women with pelvic floor disorders.

Dr. Kenton and Dr. Mueller see patients at Loyola Outpatient Center, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and Loyola Center for Health at Park Ridge. To inquire about this clinical trial or to schedule an appointment with a LUHS urogynecologist, call (888) LUHS-888.


About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.