FROM THE DIRECTOR
From Bench to Bedside, and Back Again
Again and again, the Brady Urological Institute has been named number one in the country by
U.S. News and World Report magazine.
A great honor -- but it's also just a headline. The ranking alone doesn't tell you anything about
why this is such a special place. (We hope to give you a better look at the "big picture"
of our work in this issue of Prostate Cancer Update.) One reason, of course, is the people
who work here -- bright, dedicated, innovative, and caring surgeons, scientists, nurses, and staff
who, to a person, love what they do.
The other reason is our unusual setup -- a one-of-a-kind environment in which scientists and
surgeons work side by side under one roof. This juxtaposition of laboratory and clinical setting
encourages surgeons to learn science, and scientists to learn medicine. The magic of this facility
is our ability to transfer discovery quickly from the "bench to the bedside," so the latest scientific
knowledge can be turned into new avenues for patient care.
The process also works in reverse: The discovery of the nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy and
the search for the hereditary prostate cancer gene were both inspired by the bedside. Two
decades ago, I saw the first patient who was potent after a standard radical prostatectomy -- an
operation once notorious for its extreme bleeding and devastating side effects of incontinence
and impotence -- and wondered how this could be possible. Ten years ago, I saw a 49-year-old
man with prostate cancer who told me that every male member of his family -- his father, his
father's three brothers, and his grandfather -- had died of the disease. These people made me ask
some basic questions: Why does impotence occur after prostatectomy? Could prostate
cancer be inherited? These questions at the bedside were transferred to the research bench for
answers. (For the answer to the hereditary question, click here.)
No matter how our discoveries happen -- whether they begin at the bedside or the bench -- our
goal is to understand and eventually conquer prostate cancer. This is our mission; this has been
our success. It is our feeling that if this mission does not go forward, the process of discovering
new treatments for prostate cancer may be lost. (For more on how you can help, click here).
I am proud and excited to share our latest findings with you as patients who are vital partners in
this process of discovery.
Patrick C. Walsh, M.D.