A "Win-Win"
Partin is New Director; Walsh Devotes Time to Surgery

Partin: "I am excited to have the opportunity to guide the ship."

There's good news, and good news.

First, 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 story).
  • 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 Bayview Campus.
  • 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."


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