Partin: "I am excited to have the opportunity to guide the ship."
There’s good news, and good news.
although Patrick C. Walsh, M.D., has
stepped down from his administrative
responsibilities as Director of the Brady
Urological Institute, he isn’t going anywhere:
Now he will devote his full time to patient
care, surgery and research.
The other good
news is that the Brady is in excellent
hands-the hands of renowned urologist
and scientist, Alan W. Partin,
M.D., Ph.D., Bernard Schwartz Distinguished
Professor of Urologic Oncology.
This is a job, Partin says, that he’s
dreamed of for years. "I am excited to have
the opportunity to guide the ship. We have
an excellent group of people here, all doing
wonderful things." Partin is a Hopkins trained
doctor and scientist. He learned to
perform urologic surgery under Walsh’s
tutelage, and as he earned his Ph.D., his
mentor in molecular pharmacology was
Donald S. Coffey, Ph.D., the Catherine
Iola and J. Smith Michael Distinguished Professor of Urology. He is the editor of
Urology, one of the specialty’s top two journals,
the author or co-author of more than
350 papers, and the recipient of notable
honors, including an award by the American
Urological Association, given yearly to the
urologist who has made the greatest impact
within the first 10 years after completing his
residency. Partin was the first urologist to
receive this honor after only five years of
practice, and he was the youngest urologist
to be inducted into the prestigious American
Association of Genitourinary Surgeons.
The work that has made him famous, and
earned him such awards, is the eponymous
set of tables that has given thousands of men
with prostate cancer worldwide a 95-percent
accurate prediction of their likelihood of
being cured by treatment. The Partin Tables
were developed at the Brady in 1993 by Partin
and Walsh, after Partin studied the course of
prostate cancer in hundreds of Walsh’s radical
prostatectomy patients. The tables correlate
three key pieces of the prostate cancer
puzzle-a man’s PSA, Gleason score, and estimated
clinical stage-with the actual pathologic
stage, determined when pathologist
Jonathan Epstein, M.D., examined the surgically removed prostate
specimens. Revised and expanded over the
years, the tables have become an indispensable
tool for doctors and patients.
That Partin will continue doing this and
other research (click here to read about one of his studies),
and keep seeing patients and
performing surgery, as well as carrying on
his editorship of Urology, is characteristic; he
has a knack for being able to handle many
projects simultaneously, and to do them
well. He wants the same for the Brady-to
keep doing what it’s doing at the same standard
of excellence, and to do more. "We are
going to continue our mission," he says.
"We have held our position, of being
(ranked by U.S. News & World Report) the
Number One in urology, 14 years in a row.
We’re going to continue to foster that in the
strongest way." Urologic oncology-especially
in prostate cancer-is so strong at the Brady,
Partin adds, but he wants to fortify the
Institute’s efforts in research and clinical
care of other cancers, including the bladder,
kidney, and testes, by recruiting internationally
recognized scientists in those areas. Partin plans to recruit faculty with other
research interests, as well, including:
- Female urology, with a focus on such issues
as overactive bladder and incontinence.
- Inflammatory and infectious diseases of
urology, such as pelvic pain, interstitial
cystitis, and prostatitis. In addition to
expanding our knowledge of these diseases,
Partin says, we need further exploration
of the emerging link between
inflammation and prostate cancer (see
- Reconstructive surgery, including urethroplasty
and pelvic floor reconstruction.
"We will strengthen our collaboration
with general surgery and gynecology, with
our role in the new Pelvic Floor Reconstructive
Center" at the Johns Hopkins
- Pediatric urology research and clinical care.
- Nonsurgical treatments of prostate cancer.
"We are expanding the menu for treatment
of men with early-detected, clinically
localized prostate cancer, through collaborative
efforts with the Department of
Radiation Oncology," says Partin, "so
men who aren’t interested in surgery or
external-beam radiation therapy will have an option for treatment here."
- Endourology-stone disease. "We need to
focus attention on the art and clinical care
of patients with stone disease. For many,
it’s a lifelong disease, with a lot of issues.
Partin is also determined to increase the
Brady’s physical size. "The Brady Urological
Institute in the Marburg Building has
expanded far beyond its walls," he notes, "to
include research space in the Cancer Research
Building, the Oncology Center, and the Pediatric
Building." He is working to acquire
enough space within the Hospital "to bring
some of this back together, to consolidate it
within one area, and continue to grow over
the next 20 years."
One of Partin’s first challenges will be to
replace another longtime Brady legend who
seems irreplaceable-his mentor, Don Coffey,
who is stepping down as the Institute’s
research director. Coffey’s shoes are so big for
one person to fill that Partin isn’t even going
to try. "We are going to have two research
directors," he explains, "one for basic science,
and one for translational research-moving
those discoveries from the laboratory bench
to the patient’s bedside, as quickly and as
seamlessly as possible."