Valera - Romero – Ahdoot – Garmendia – Pohida – 2023


Mentor: Vladimer Valera Romero, M.D., Ph.D. |
Lab: Urologic Oncology Branch
Mentor: Michael Ahdoot, M.D. |
Lab: Urology, Cedars-Sinai

Developing an improved transurethral resection (TUR) device for bladder tumors

Transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) is regarded as the gold standard for the diagnosis and treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). However, the technique may be responsible for high rates of tumor recurrence and understaging due to an increased risk of tumor seeding and a significant compromise of histopathologic information. Early repeat resection, new optical technologies, immediate post-TUR intravesical chemotherapy instillation, and novel TUR techniques have been investigated in attempts to work around these shortcomings and improve the prognosis of bladder cancer.

Our goal is to modify the TUR device to allow for tumors to be removed as one solid piece (en bloc) to limit seeding and improve the quality of histopathologic specimens. At the initial stage of this project, we will be prototyping TUR devices, testing, and conducting experiments ex-vivo on cystectomy specimens. We intend to optimize the TUR device by implementing novel cutting and extraction methods.  The overall goal is to improve the current technology to reduce bladder cancer recurrence rates and improve patient outcomes.

The summer project will focus on conceptualizing, designing, building, and evaluating innovative TUR devices and systems.  Experiments will be conducted on cystectomy specimens with subsequent analysis of method efficacy and resulting tumor resection.  Example research and development areas to address include: electrosurgery integration, mechanical design increasing tumor size removal, validation, and ease of use.

The BESIP student working on this project should have an interest in learning about cancer treatment and technologies, as well as developing bioinstrumentation and clinical procedures. Working closely with the interdisciplinary team, the intern will gain valuable hands-on experience with multiple clinical and biomedical engineering procedures and technologies, such as mechanical 3D modeling and prototyping, circuit design, clinical imaging, clinical diagnosis, and tissue experiments.

Valera Romero lab: Dr Vladimir Valera, MD PhD is a physician scientist by training with extensive expertise in the surgical treatment of genitourinary malignancies. His endeavors to advance the field encompass surgery (open, robotic, endoscopic), clinical trials and technological advances directly applicable to patient care. His track record includes an ongoing technology research protocol developing a new resectoscope device for the diagnosis and treatment of bladder tumors (NCI-20-C-0020, NCT04235764)

Ahdoot lab: Michael Ahdoot, MD, is an assistant professor of urology at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. He specializes in Urology Oncology and runs a research lab focusing on novel treatments for bladder and prostate cancers. Dr. Ahdoot completed medical school at the Stanford School of Medicine followed by residency at the University of Miami and fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Ahdoot is an author of many clinical publications including high impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Ahdoot is also an innovator in the field with medical device patents and an active lab which has developed novel technologies for bladder and prostate cancer treatments.

Pohida lab: Provides electrical, electronic, electro-optical, mechanical, computer, and software engineering expertise to NIH projects that require in-house technology development. Collaborations involve advanced signal transduction and data acquisition; real-time signal and image processing; control and monitoring systems (e.g., robotics and process automation); and rapid prototype development. Collaborations result in the design of first-of-a-kind biomedical/clinical research systems, instrumentation, and methodologies.


Intern Name: Emily Herbert
Institution: Bladder Phantom Development for Testing Accuracy of Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT) Instrumentation
Project Title: Northern Illinois University