Taking the prostate out is not easy, and it is associated with two terrible side effects: impotence, and urinary incontinence. Recently, robotic surgery has been one way to cut down on the complication rate, but it’s still not perfect.
The UroCool device from InnerCool, a subsidiary of Cardium therapeutics, is a rectally placed catheter that keeps the prostate nice and frosty during a prostatectomy. The device is theorized to reduce post-op complications and is currently undergoing clinical studies at UC Irvine.
Here’s some more info from the press release:
Dr. Ahlering and his colleague Dr. David S. Finley are conducting clinical studies designed to demonstrate safety and confirm the potential benefits of localized cooling during robotic-assisted prostatectomy, which is now the most common surgical technique for prostate cancer. The UroCool(TM) catheter is designed to be placed within the rectal cavity adjacent to the prostate during surgery. UroCool is used in conjunction
with InnerCool’s Celsius Control Console which circulates cold saline in a closed loop within the catheter to allow for localized cooling. Drs. Ahlering and Finley believe that therapeutic cooling during prostate surgery (which includes both traditional open surgical approaches and the newer robotic-assisted technique) can reduce tissue damage and inflammation and thereby provide a faster return of bladder control (continence) and possibly erectile function (potency). From a practical viewpoint, they liken this concept to icing a severely sprained ankle in order to minimize tissue injury and shorten the recovery process.
The hope is that patients will be more likely to have elective prostatectomies by reducing the complication rate.
Read the press release here…
Image: Prostate cancer cell. (Wellcome-Images)