Telling the Story

Alan Partin
The story of discovery
at the Brady is a
timeline of progress
and hope..
I am always so happy to write this letter, and to tell you about our wonderful progress in understanding and treating prostate cancer. What I hope you will notice, as you read about our very latest discoveries, is that many of the stories are told in context. They are links in a very long and important chain.

For example, Karen Sfanos's exciting work connecting the chemical PhIP and infection to prostate cancer wouldn't have been possible without earlier work done by Bill Nelson and Angelo De Marzo. Bill Isaacs' discovery of the most important gene so far linked to prostate cancer didn't just happen. It's based on two decades of genetics research (see story). Much of that work was arduous, timeconsuming and unrewarding, because when Billy first started doing this, he didn't have the luxury of the computer programs that now allow him and his colleagues to sift much more rapidly through vast amounts of data. He and his team kept going through false leads, investigating numerous genes in families hit hard by prostate cancer over the years, looking for connections. And this genetics work, in turn, came about after observations by Patrick Walsh that prostate cancer – which everybody used to assume was just a disease that happened in older men – seemed to run in families, and that in these families, men developed it at a younger age.

We are telling the story of the discovery of prostate cancer because we have lived it. It is woven into the fabric of our laboratories, our clinics, and our operating rooms. Discovery after discovery, based on observations and teaching by the people who have been at the forefront of this disease for nearly a century. I hope you will see this issue of Discovery as part of a continuum, a timeline of progress and hope.

I also hope that you will be as excited as we are about our beautiful new hospital floor. I truly believe that there is nothing like it anywhere in the world. The whole space was designed, with ideas from patients, doctors and nurses, to be a place for healing. It would not have been possible without a very generous gift from Christina and Robert C. Baker, and this brings me to our amazing patients. We are so blessed that the people who come to us for treatment, who could easily be forgiven for turning inward during a difficult time, instead reach outward. On the back cover is the story of John McDonald, who has devoted his life to raising money to help other people fighting cancer. Patients giving back, helping other patients, and helping us care for them. To me, that's the best story of all.

Best wishes,
Alan W. Partin, M.D., Ph.D. David Hall McConnell Professor and Director
The Brady Urological Institute


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