Prostatitis Letter 11
Department of Health and Human Services
September 22, 1995

The Honorable Carol Moseley-Braun
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510-1303

Dear Senator Moseley-Braun:

Thank you for your August 10 follow-up letter concerning the importance of prostatitis research.

You may be pleased to learn that our efforts to stimulate increased research interest in prostatitis are progressing. The scientific workshop that I mentioned in my previous letter to you is tentatively scheduled for December 1995. A major goal of the workshop will be to facilitate the development of uniform, clinical definitions for prostatitis so that investigators can effectively report on and compare the results of their studies.

Following the meeting, we plan to issue a Program Announcement to solicit grant applications. We hope the workshop and solicitation will encourage the development of a cadre of investigators who will devote their efforts to understanding the etiology of the disease and developing effective treatments and preventive measures.

At the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it is our goal as objective scientists to improve treatment for all diseases within our purview. The fairest way we know to apportion resources is to fund projects that have the highest scientific merit, as judged by the two-step peer review system described in my previous letter. It is extremely difficult for us to raise the funding priority for a particular disease without special funds from Congress, especially when funding for biomedical research is not even keeping pace with the biomedical inflation rate.

Prostatitis is a poorly understood disease. With the wealth of information and technology available today, it is frustrating that we do not have answers to all the questions about prostatitis. However, there are neither accurate data on the national incidence and prevalence of prostatitis nor on its relationship, if any, to other diseases of the prostate.

At this point, the only known relationship between prostatitis and other diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer is that they occur in the same gland. Nor is there any scientific evidence to suggest that prostatitis is related to male infertility or sexually transmitted diseases.

As I indicated in my first letter to you, most of the research funded by the National Institutes of Health is investigator-initiated. We have received very few grant applications related to prostatitis, probably because the disease is so poorly understood. Investigator-initiated applications for prostatitis research have the same potential for funding as investigator-initiated applications to study other diseases.

The enclosed fact sheet further describes prostatitis, the need for diagnostic criteria before meaningful research can proceed, and our plans for conquering this serious, painful disorder. However, if it would be helpful, I or Leroy Nyberg, a board certified urologist and the director of our urology research program, would be pleased to talk to you or your staffer, Steven Collens, directly. I can be reached at (301) 496-6325, and Dr. Nyberg can be reached at (301) 594-7717.

Sincerely yours,
Gary E. Striker, Director
Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases

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