Michael A. O'Donnell, MD


Professor of Urology

Contact Information

Office: 3251 RCP
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-356-2421

Lab: 3241 MERF
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-384-6040

Email: michael-odonnell@uiowa.edu
Web: UI Health Care Profile


MD, Duke University School of Medicine

Fellowship, Beth Israel Hospital of Boston, Evaluation Research
Residency, Harvard Medical School, Urology

Research Summary

Dr. O'Donnell's basic and clinical research has a long history of focusing on bladder immunology and bladder cancer immunotherapy, particularly the anti-cancer mechanisms of bacillus Calmette-Gu�rin (BCG) and its enhancement with combination therapies. Dr. O'Donnell recently headed a national trial of bladder cancer treatment utilizing BCG plus interferon (a natural protein which induces healthy cells to combat disease) comprised of over 1,000 patients, and holds several U.S. patents for his work. While BCG has long been a standard treatment for bladder cancer, its toxicity profile can be devastating. Dr. O'Donnell's studies, both laboratory and clinical, seek to both determine the exact mechanism by which BCG targets bladder cancer tumor cells, and enhance its efficacy, either alone or in combination with other agents, while reducing its toxicity to healthy cells. Dr. O'Donnell's research efforts also include exploration of methods to detect bladder cancer at earlier stages, as well as new combination topical chemotherapy treatments for early bladder cancer. He has instituted two such methods, including a urinary FISH assay and the NMP-22 Bladder Check test in the Urology Clinic. He has pioneered several new sequential combination therapies involving adriamycin, gemcitabine, docetaxel and mitomycin for treating BCG-resistant/recurrent bladder cancers.

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Selected Publications

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Bockholt N, Knudson M, Henning J, Maymi J, Weady P, Smith, III G, Eisenbraun M, Fraser J, O'Donnell M, Luo Y.  Anti-interleukin-10R1 monoclonal antibody enhances bacillus Calmette-Guérin induced T-helper type 1 immune responses and antitumor immunity in a mouse orthotopic model of bladder cancer.  J Urol.  2012. 187:2228-35.

Askeland E, Newton M, O'Donnell M, Luo Y.  Bladder Cancer Immunotherapy: BCG and Beyond.  Adv Urol.  2012. 

Lightfoot A, Rosevear H, Nepple K, O'Donnell M.  Role of routine transurethral biopsy and isolated upper tract cytology after intravesical treatment of high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.  Int J Urol.  2012. 19:988-93.

Rosevear H, Lightfoot A, Birusingh K, Maymi J, Nepple K, O'Donnell M,  N.  Factors affecting response to bacillus Calmette-Guérin plus interferon for urothelial carcinoma in situ.  J Urol.  2011. 186:817-23.

Lightfoot A, Rosevear H, O'Donnell M.  Recognition and treatment of BCG failure in bladder cancer.  ScientificWorldJournal.  2011. 11:602-13.

Luo Y, Henning J, O'Donnell M.  Th1 cytokine-secreting recombinant Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin and prospective use in immunotherapy of bladder cancer.  Clin Dev Immunol.  2011. 

Rosevear H, Lightfoot A, Nepple K, O'Donnell M.  Usefulness of the Spanish Urological Club for Oncological Treatment scoring model to predict nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer recurrence in patients treated with intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin plus interferon-α.  J Urol.  2011. 185:67-71.

Nepple K, Lightfoot A, Rosevear H, O'Donnell M, Lamm D,  B.  Bacillus Calmette-Guérin with or without interferon α-2b and megadose versus recommended daily allowance vitamins during induction and maintenance intravesical treatment of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer.  J Urol.  2010. 184:1915-9.

Date Last Modified: 07/14/2016 - 13:57:56