Department of Urology | Research & Innovation

Boston Children’s Hospital is a leader in pediatric urology care and at the forefront of clinical research and innovation. With this commitment in mind, our team of experts conducts ongoing research to develop more effective therapies to treat children with urological conditions. The following represents some of the Department’s recent advancements in pediatric urology.

Groundbreaking clinical studies

Ongoing research studies in a wide range of conditions offer patients the opportunity to participate in leading-edge therapies while contributing to future knowledge and helping the next generation of children with urological problems. Currently active trials include studies of optimal surgical treatments for undescended testicles, novel imaging and diagnostic testing for urinary tract obstruction diagnosed prenatally, new non-invasive biomarkers to predict outcomes in children with kidney problems, state-of-the-art MRI for measurement of kidney function in babies and children, and many others. We encourage our patients and families to ask questions about ongoing research projects.

Leading the way: A team approach to large kidney stone care

The occurrence of kidney stones in children is on the rise. To manage the increase, Boston Children’s Kidney Stone Program developed a forward-thinking approach to stone management, highlighted in a range of papers:

Fetal diagnosis and treatment for urinary tract obstruction

Michael P. Kurtz, MD, MPH, and the team at Boston Children’s Maternal Fetal Care Center are pursuing revolutionary strategies for management of fetuses with urinary tract obstruction diagnosed prenatally. Using a number of novel MRI techniques, Dr. Kurtz and his team are developing ways to determine the severity of the kidney obstruction without risky invasive tests. Since MRI is a safe way to image pregnant mothers and their fetuses, this technique will dramatically change the way we assess these infants and allow us to much more accurately predict outcomes. Dr. Kurtz has also developed an ingenious drainage device that can dramatically improve the outcomes in babies with the most severe obstruction problems; preliminary testing of this new device is continuing and has been very promising.

Multi-Institutional Bladder Exstrophy Consortium (MIBEC): An examination of short-term outcomes

MIBEC was created to enhance collaboration, and improve care and outcomes for bladder exstrophy patients. The collaboration proved to increase significantly surgeon exposure to complete primary repair of exstrophy (CPRE) and the refinement of the technique, surgeon learning and expertise. Read the outcomes in the Journal of Pediatric Urology: Short-term outcomes of the multi-institutional bladder exstrophy consortium: Success and complications in the first two years of collaboration.

Pioneering surgical techniques

Boston Children's Hospital's Richard Lee, MD, director of Pediatric Urologic Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, pioneered the adaption of adult minimally invasive surgical techniques to the pediatric world for the surgical management of kidney and testicular tumors. His efforts improved surgical outcomes while minimizing recovery. Read the paper.

Two patients, two case studies: Examining minimally invasive renal preservation surgery

Robotic assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy can be safely and effectively performed in pediatric patients for renal tumors while preserving renal function. Two pediatric cases from Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center demonstrate the effectiveness of renal preservation using robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery applied for renal masses. Download the case studies.