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Meet the Researcher

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Dr. Bhanu Prasad, Saskatchewan Health Authority

Can you describe your area of research and how it is helping address a health-related issue in Saskatchewan?

Loin pain hematuria is an ultrarare disorder with a prevalence of 0.013%. Patients have severe incapacitating pain originating from the kidneys that leads to opiate addiction, absenteeism, poor emotional health, depression and even suicide. The treatment options include opiates, and invasive surgical options including autotransplantation. We are trying to determine if a minimally invasive percutaneous procedure called renal denervation (RDN) can lead to lasting pain relief, assist people off their opiate addiction and allow them to lead productive lives.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

Seeing patients with severe incapacitating pain return to pain free lives and be able to resume performing small things that matter most to them.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Managing clinical work with the rigours of research.

How did you first become interested in this area of research? What inspires you to do the work that you do?

We were performing renal denervation for treatment of hypertension since 2014. In 2016/2017, we trialled the same procedure for patients with LPHS at the insistence of Dr Garcia, Urologist who is now one of our collaborators. Dr Goyal, Radiologist kindly agreed to trial and perform the procedure on patients with LPHS and we started noticing that patients instantaneously post procedure were becoming pain free. It led to a small study called the “Prairie Renal Denervation Study” which was a success and now we are embarking on a randomized controlled trial. We now have a strong team including our latest member Dr Maryam Jafari who is coordinating the project and helped us cross hurdles with Health Canada and local ethics board. Registered Nurse Michelle Selinger helps with patients once they are in hospital. Everyone who is part of the team wants to ensure that the project ends up a success.

Where is your research headed in the next five years?

We are currently conducting a smaller feasibility study randomized controlled trial (RCT) which will give us an idea of the barriers of conducting a larger multicentre study. We plan to go ahead and involve 5-6 other sites in other continents and perform a much larger RCT. This will require a lot of coordination, funding and collaboration with other sites.

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