Message from the Research Vice Chairman: Wade A. Bushman, MD, PhD
Who once said, “Every important question in medicine has been answered, often incorrectly?”
The challenges confronting our patients are nothing new: infection, cancer, kidney stones, congenital abnormalities and genitourinary symptoms associated with aging. These conditions have been with us for millennia. What has changed is the advent of new and effective treatments: antibiotics, robotic surgery for cancer, minimally invasive surgery for stone disease, reconstructive pediatric surgery and new medications like Viagra. The thread that ties all of these together is that they came about through research. Who does this research? Why do they do it? How does it happen?
The man who loves his job never works a day in his life. (Confucius)
People who do medical research do it because they love to ask questions, to investigate, to make a difference in the lives of people. They are physicians like Drs. Jarrard, Nakada, Abel, Downs, Best and Williams. They are basic scientists like Drs. Ricke, Penniston and Hopkins. They are the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, study nurses and coordinators.
Do not believe anything merely on the authority of your teachers. (Buddha)
Researchers are people who challenge the status quo. They challenge existing paradigms to create opportunities for new and better treatment. The Department of Urology is home to more than 40 active clinical trials and basic science research studies.
Chance favors the prepared mind. (Pasteur)
Research progress is uneven and unpredictable. Over the long haul, however, persistence always pays off. When talented people, hard work, indefatigable spirit, critical thinking, adequate funding and resources come together, good things just seem to happen. Sometimes it’s as simple as a hallway conversation. My laboratory recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health to perform basic research studies of the vascular supply of the mouse prostate and its role in conditions of inflammation and abnormal growth. As part of our work, we were interested in comparing the vascular supply of the mouse and human prostate. One day between cases in the OR, I popped down to the Interventional Radiology section to ask if they had angiographic studies showing the vascular supply to the human prostate. One of their new faculty members began telling me his idea for a new, minimally invasive vascular treatment for men with bladder obstruction from very large prostates. This is now in the planning stage and will become a reality. That is how research happens.
Wade Bushman, MD, PhD
Vice Chairman for Research
Robert F. and Dolores K. Schnoes Professor of Urologic Research