Vancouver Health Research Institute recently wrote an article on the Stone Centre’s Dr. Lange and his metagenomics project. The project looks to break down and understand the relationship between bacteria in the gut of kidney stone formers and how this bacteria may potentially be contributing to stone disease.
Elliya’s talk presented at the Vancouver Coast Health Research Institute’s 2017 Research Medicine Expo at Vancouver General Hospital – “Erythropoietin Signalling After Ureteral Obstruction” won Best Speaker Award!
Elliya Park is a master’s student at the Stone Centre Laboratory who work s under the supervision of Dr. Dirk Lange of Urologic Sciences. Her research at the Stone Centre focuses on erythropoietin signalling after ureteral obstruction. This research has many implications in urologic medicine with respect to recovery of the ureter after it is obstructed (in particular by kidney stones).
The Stone Centre’s 4th Annual Patient Engagement Event: “Shattering Stones – Which Treatment is Best for Me?” was another successful night in what has become a cornerstone event for the Stone Centre team and it’s patients.
The main goal of this year’s event was to educate the general community on kidney stones and in particular the treatments available for kidney stones. By educating patients on the various treatment options, the Stone Centre team wants to promote healthy and knowledgeable decision making with respect to stone disease, as well as to minimize any confusion or misunderstanding about stones. Additionally, the Stone Centre team wants to foster a sense of community between the Urologists, Researchers and Stone Patients so that no patient feels helpless or alone in their fight against kidney stones.
The event is non-profit, and is sponsored by community donors that graciously provide us with the venue, refreshments, snacks, and door prizes. We collaborate with both Vancouver Coastal Health as well as the VGH Foundation many months in advance in order to organize and provide the best event possible for our patients.
This year’s event started with a presentation on the different treatment options that the Stone Centre has to offer as explained by Urologists Dr. Ben Chew and Dr. Ryan Paterson. This presentation also included an interactive discussion with a group of 4 patient panelists that had undergone the different treatments. The patient panelists offered their unique perspectives on the treatments they had experienced, including the factors that influenced them in making their decision. This combination of information presentation and discussion was the first of its kind at this event. The discussion between the Urologists and Patient Panel was well received and provided guests with both a professional and patient perspective on different treatments as well as the various pros and cons of each treatment. (If you would like to see the animations that were shown during the presentations of each treatment please click HERE to visit our treatment options page.)
Following this presentation, Dr. Dirk Lange, the director of Basic Science at the Stone Centre, presented on the various clinical projects that are ongoing at the Stone Centre. This included interesting information on the prevalence and role of antibiotics during stone treatment surgery, in particular for infection stones (struvite) which the Stone Centre is the first to conduct. This presentation also touched on the sensitive topic of antibiotic misuse. One of the goals of the Stone Centre’s research is to determine effective, efficient and appropriate antibiotic regimes to prevent misuse and promote health and well being. (For more info on any of our antibiotics study, please click HERE to visit our active clinical trials page).
The presentation portion of the event ended with a question and answer period. Guests were invited to submit questions on slips of paper that were then answered by Dr.’s Chew, Paterson Lange and the patient panel. Raffle prizes were drawn which concluded the formal presentation portion of the event. The last half hour of the event featured a mingling session in the lobby of the Paetzold auditorium with light refreshments and snacks provided. The whole Stone Centre team from both the clinical and laboratory sides were available to answer questions from any of the guests. The Stone Centre’s dietitians – Judith Andrews and Lynn Tomita – were also available to answer the many questions about diet, prevention and stone disease.
If you would like to get involved in the Stone Centre’s ongoing research, or if you would like to get involved with the Stone Centre as a volunteer please visit our CONTACT US page where you get can in touch with us through either email or phone. If you took home a study package at the event and have any questions please feel free to contact us as well.
The Stone Centre is always looking for ways to improve its quality of care and research. If you would like to contribute an idea, or have feedback regarding the event please send us an email as well.
Thanks and Contributions:
A big thank you to the VGH Foundation for their help in organizing the event, printing materials, social media presence and helping with setup and takedown!
A big thank you to our sponsors this year who provided the snacks, refreshments and raffle draw prizes!
We look forward to seeing you all again at our next event!
Congratulations to the Stone Centre’s very our Dr. Elspeth McDougall for receiving the American Urological Association Presidential Citation for outstanding contributions to education and innovative learning methods in Urology.
The Stone Centre’s third annual patient engagement night – Kidney Stones: The Latest on Prevention, Treatment and Research was another successful educational event! The goal of our event was to pass on information to the kidney stone patient community through educational talks and presentations from the Stone Centre’s urologists, researchers and dietitians.
The night began with a presentation from Dr. Ben Chew regarding metabolic syndrome and kidney stones. Dr. Chew then discussed the various dietary options that have been clinically proven to reduce the risk of stone disease.
This presentation was followed by talks from dietitians Judith Andrews and Lynn Tomita. They continued with the theme of dietary advice and went into thorough recommendations for fluids, sodium, fruit and vegetables, protein oxalate and calcium.
Dr. Chew and the dietitians then had an engaging back and forth discussion regarding some of the finer points of dietary oxalate recommendations.
Dr. Dirk Lange, the director of basic science research at the Stone Centre, was the final presenter for the night. He went over the ongoing and future research that is being conducted by the Stone Centre laboratory team.
This event was made possible through contributions from many different people and organizations.
We would like to thank the Stone Centre laboratory research team for their outstanding efforts in research as well as for their help in setting up the event. If you saw them at the event, the lab team was busy answering your questions regarding research and stone prevention!
We would also like to thank the VGH Foundation; specifically Joey Cheung, Tim Staunton and Nathania Lo for their help in organizing and setting up the event.
A big thank you to the Stone Centre Advisory Group – who volunteered their time to ensure that we were answering questions and covering content that is relevant to patient needs. Their contributions played a huge part in the success of the night event.
Also, thank you to our charitable sponsors for providing food, refreshments and prizes!
Joey Lo has been with the Stone Centre for several years, initially as a co-op student and then later as a M.Sc. candidate. She has worked closely with Dr. Lange and Dr. Chew to complete her graduate degree under the UBC Experimental Medicine Program. Her main research focuses on the use of antimicrobial coatings on urinary catheters to prevent bacterial attachment and subsequent infections, a project done in collaboration with several specialized laboratories at UBC located under the departments of Pathology, Chemistry, and Materials Engineering.
Joey has been an integral part of the research team both as a student and now as a research assistant. The Stone Centre Team wants to extend its most sincere congratulations to Joey for finishing her M.Sc. degree and wishes her success in her future endeavors!
The Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) presented this highly competitive award to Dr. Lange in recognition of the translational research program he has developed, focusing on The Development of Novel Therapeutic and Preventative Strategies for Kidney Stone Disease. This award will allow Dr. Lange and his research team to continue diligently working on their novel research towards improving the treatment and prevention of kidney stone disease.
Novelty of Research Program: Currently, no basic science or translational research program dedicated to developing novel treatment/preventative options for kidney stone disease (KSD) exists across the country, making the research program at The Stone Centre at VGH the first of its kind in Canada. The novelty of Dr. Lange’s independent research program is further illustrated by the approach taken to develop innovative treatment/preventative strategies for KSD. To date, the majority of research in this area is driven by clinicians and focuses on improving surgical interventions or diagnostic tools in an attempt to decrease the incidence of KSD. While some progress has been made in improving these aspects, the incidence continues to climb. This is mostly due to the fact that current approaches do not address specific mechanisms associated with the failure of treatment and preventative strategies.
Dr. Lange deems that a paradigm shift in research is required to generate innovative and efficacious treatment/preventative options. As such, his research program focuses on identifying and targeting specific molecular mechanisms that have remained unconsidered. Specifically he is focusing on improving the functionality of ureteral stents, which are the most abundantly used treatment to maintain some urine flow in the presence of an obstructing stone, or following surgical intervention to remove the obstructing stone while the ureter heals. Currently, ureteral stents are associated with significant complications in at least 80% of stented patients including infection, encrustation and discomfort associated with the fact that overall ureteral function is significantly impaired with a stent in place and minimal urine flow occurs due to gravity and pressure changes in the filling bladder. The end result is residual pressure buildup and expansion of the kidney. In this context, Dr. Lange’s independent research program studies molecular mechanisms that drive ureteral dysfunction associated with obstruction and indwelling ureteral stents and focuses on the development of novel stent coatings to prevent device-associated infection and encrustation. In addition, he is studying mechanisms that drive recurrent KSD in an attempt to develop novel therapies to prevent disease recurrence. In this context, he is studying the role of the intestinal microbiome in recurrent KSD as dietary oxalate is a major source of oxalate in the body.
We would like to give a special thank you to the members of the Stone Centre Advisory Group for their support and guidance in our research!
Sullivan Research Day was an all day educational program hosted at the Paetzold auditorium at VGH on June 21, 2016. This event featured various lecturers that were invited to talk about their respective research in the field of urology. These lectures included presentations from Doctors, residents, fellows, and students in a variety of topics such as clinical research, cell plasticity and treatment resistance, genomics and bioinformatics, metabolism, and novel diagnostics and therapeutics as they pertain to various cancers.
One of the Stone Centre’s very own students – David Choy – was selected to present his ongoing metagenomics research project at this prestigious event.
Here is a short brief on the presentation…
“The Relationship between Bacterial Enzyme Pathways in the Gut and Metabolic Imbalances in Kidney Stone Patients”
Introduction: In kidney stone disease (KSD), patients suffer from excess absorption/production of oxalate that combines with calcium in the kidney to form calcium oxalate stones. In this study, we want to find out how the bacteria in the gut microbiome use their metabolic enzymes to regulate oxalate and other metabolites in and across the gut.
Methods: Fecal samples were collected from 17 patients with calcium oxalate kidney stones and their non-stone forming healthy spouses. DNA is extracted from the fecal samples and shotgun-sequence using Illumina HiSeq and the NexteraXT metagenomics library kit. The DNA sequences were then aligned to five gene databases to obtain meaningful annotations. The DNA was also sequence specifically for 16s_rRNA genes to identify the bacteria present.
Results: Metagenomics sequencing results show that patients and controls had different prevalences of genes involved in glyoxylate, butyrate, and vitamin metabolism. These pathways play a role in oxalate and calcium regulation because glyoxylate is a precursor for oxalate in hepatocytes, butyrate promotes the integrity of the colonocyte gut lining and therefore absorption of ions across the gut, and vitamin metabolism regulates calcium absorption respectively. These observations are further supported by 16s_rRNA data that showed controls had a higher prevalence of butyrate-producing bacteria of the Lachnospiriceae and Ruminococcaceae family. Additionally, we found that patients did not have any Oxalobacter formigenes (a well-known oxalate degrading bacteria) in their gut while most controls did.
Conclusions: These results suggest that bacterial enzymes play a role in regulating the absorption, degradation and secretion of oxalate in the gut whether by directly degrading oxalate or by affecting other metabolites. Further study may uncover targets in bacterial enzyme pathways for treatment of metabolic disorders like KSD.