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Inspiring Quality Care

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The Department of Urology is one of the premier centers in the nation for the treatment of urologic diseases and cancer. Under the leadership of Dr. David Bloom , the Department has attracted and retained respected doctors, brilliant scientists and talented young residents. His progressive vision to continually improve patient care has inspired nearly a decade of advances in urology at Michigan.




The University of Michigan Prostate Cancer Program fantasy football

The vision of the Prostate Cancer Program is to be the leader and best intranslating scientific discoveries to medical solutions for the benefit of prostate cancer patients and their families. To achieve this goal, the clinicians and researchers at the U-M apply a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to patient care, scientific discovery and education.

We  have talented and dedicated doctors, scientists and residents; the access to research; and the knowledge that makes the difference. This includes building and strengthening existing national research partnerships with other leading cancer centers.

Dr. Kenneth J.  Pienta, co-director of urologic oncology and professor of urology and internal medicine, received a prestigious American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor grant for his ongoing work related to the thrombin receptor, considered a molecular key to facilitating the spread of prostate cancer. Now Dr. Pienta and his colleagues are striving to develop treatments that thwart the receptor’s influence in a cancer that is the second most common malignancy in men after skin cancer.

Our vision will take considerable philanthropic support and with your generosity we can achieve these goals. Please join us in our efforts and become part of the team. Together we can advance treatment of prostate disease.


Treating Prostate Cancer with Precisionfantasy football

The average age for men undergoing prostate cancer surgery at the U-M is 58 years. For these men — still in the prime of life — the disease must be eradicated completely and side effects must be minimized.

Robotic Radical Prostatectomy

Under the direction of Dr. Ganesh Palapattu.., a new surgical procedure known as “robotic radical prostatectomy” is now being performed at the U-M Medical Center. The procedure offers patients another option with its own set of advantages over the more common open radical prostatectomy, including reduced need for narcotic pain medication; decreased blood loss during surgery; and hospitalization of less than 24 hours in 90% of cases. By mitigating these short-term side effects, the majority of our patients return to normal activity within two weeks and to full activity shortly thereafter.

The U-M was one of the first in the nation and the first in the state to use the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. Developed by the Department of Defense, the da Vinci system allows exquisite magnification of the nerves and tissue that control urinary continence and sexual function. By dissecting these tissues away from the prostate, we can minimize damage and long-term side affects

Dr. Palapattu and his colleagues are striving to decrease the short-term and long-term side effects associated with prostate cancer treatment, to improve patient care and continue to lead in the treatment of prostate cancer.


Transforming Treatment with Non-Invasive Techniquesfantasy football

Using minimally invasive surgical techniques, patients with urologic cancers experience reduction in surgical pain and recovery time. Dr. Stuart Wolf, Clinical Director, and his colleagues teamed up to pioneer many such techniques at Michigan’s Center for Minimally Invasive Urology.

In 1996, Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy was used to remove a cancerous kidney. Instead of large incisions, the doctors completed the surgery with telescopes inserted through two tiny slits. Hospitalization was decreased from 4-7 days to 1-2 days. Three years later, Dr. Wolf introduced laparoscopic partial nephrectomy in which the cancer was removed, but the kidney was left in place. A hospital stay of just 1-2 days was required.

In 2003, the doctors implemented percutaneous radio-frequency ablation. In an outpatient procedure, an electrified needle was used to destroy the tumor; only a small skin puncture was needed.

Dr. William Roberts, Research Director, and Dr. Wolf are now exploring techniques that are completely non-invasive. With colleagues from Biomedical Engineering, the team is conducting research on cavitational ultrasound histotripsy. The technology focuses high-energy sound waves outside the body to treat diseased or cancerous tissue. The process releases tremendous energy that causes fragmentation of the diseased tissue.

This revolutionary technique has the potential to transform the way urologic diseases and cancers are treated. Testing is now underway for both prostate and kidney cancer. Currently, the U-M is the only institution in the world where doctors and scientists are actively working to make this technique a clinical reality.


Using Genomic Approaches to Find and Treat Prostate Cancerfantasy football

Prostate cancer is difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat. Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan is tackling two of prostate cancer’s most perplexing issues.

A More Effective Method of Prostate Cancer Screening

The PSA (prostate specific antigen) screening test is now widely used to detect prostate cancer. Unfortunately, because PSA can also be elevated in benign conditions, a biopsy is required to confirm a cancer diagnosis. New, more specific biomarkers for prostate cancer are urgently needed.

Dr. Chinnaiyan’s team has made a discovery that may soon complement or even replace the PSA test. Instead of measuring the PSA produced by the cancer, this new test measures the body’s immune reaction to the presence of prostate cancer. Developed with the help of protein microar rays, Chinnaiyan’s test will allow doctors to confirm an early diagnosis of prostate cancer without the cost and discomfort of a biopsy.

A Breakthrough in Detection and Treatment

In many cancers, treatment is being transformed by targeted therapies based on genetic events in cancer cells. But no such genetic events had been identified in prostate cancer — until now.

Recently, Dr. Chinnaiyan made a significant breakthrough when he discovered “gene fusion”, a genetic event that occurs in prostate cancer, but not in benign tissues. The finding is important because gene fusion is likely the causative event in prostate cancer. An analysis method developed in Dr. Chinnaiyan’s research lab was used by his investigators to search for evidence of gene fusions in DNA microarrays.


Understanding Prostate Cancer and Agingfantasy football

Because aging is the major risk factor for prostate cancer, theU-M Department of Urology is working to betterunderstand and define how aging affects the development of the disease. Drs. Jill Macoska and Evan Keller are working to find a way to disrupt the relationship between aging and cancer in order to find more effective treatment options.

In her laboratory, Dr. Macoska has been focusing on the way different cells in the prostate communicate and how that communication changes with age. Initial results indicate that as men grow older, certain cells begin to over-secrete molecules called CXC chemokines. Although chemokines are not steroid hormones or androgens, they function as growth factors, causing prostate cancer cells to increase in number. Dr. Macoska has also learned that chemokines cause cancer cells to move spontaneously, contributing to the metastasizing of the cancer to other sites outside of the prostate.

Today, the most widely used prostate cancer therapeutics are anti-androgens. While these treatments are initially effective in killing cancer cells, over time, the cells get used to living without androgen. At that point, the cancer begins to take a serious turn toward aggressive metastasis.

With Dr. Mocoska’s brilliant new insights into chemokine activities, we can begin to explore novel non-androgen therapies that will target and counteract the affect of chemokines on cancer cell growth and movement. Such therapies will be much-needed additions to our current prostate cancer-fighting arsenal.


Finding New Therapies for Prostate Cancerfantasy football

Dr. Evan Kelller has assembled a team of U-M investigators from diverse areas of prostate cancer research to 1) identify targets for treatment among the various types of prostate cancer cells and 2) develop drugs that can effectively strike these targets. The examples that follow typify the pioneering work of Keller’s team.

Controlling Metastasis with Gene Therapy

The most dangerous aspect of prostate cancer is metastasis, or its ability to spread to other parts of the body. In a comparison of prostate cancer cells, Keller discovered that the RKIP gene was decreased in cells that do not metastasize. The challenge now is to learn how the RKIP gene works. With this information, development of targeted therapies can begin, including the rapid screening of thousands of candidate drugs.

Targeting Bone Metastasis

Prostate cancer often spreads into bones, causing severe pain. The Prostate Cancer Drug Discovery Group is working to understand the cause of this pain. They have already learned that a protein called RANKL contributes to cancer’s ability to grow in bone and are working in partnership with pharmaceutical companies to find a RANKL inhibitor. One such compound is now in clinical trials for prostate cancer.


Improving Life After Prostate Cancerfantasy football

Nearly 300,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually. Every treatment option, from radiation to surgical therapies, will bring significant side effects for these men and their loved ones. At the University of Michigan, we’re working to make a life-changing difference for all prostate cancer patients by defining, measuring and improving quality of care.

Recognized nationally as the leaders and best, the U-M Department of Urology has pioneered many advances in health services research. These advances are improving our understanding of what constitutes quality care in prostate cancer — and quality of life thereafter.

For example, Dr. John Wei has developed a measurement system known as EPIC*. The system uses national data to define and compare the quality of life issues that result from each type of cancer therapy. This data is helping us validate and better understand how quality of care factors affect a patient’s health after treatment.

With EPIC, Dr. Wei and his colleague Dr. Brent Hollenbeck have begun to identify the health institutions that produce the most positive post-therapy outcomes. By identifying the cancer treatment characteristics of these successful hospitals, we can help ALL hospitals deliver optimal care to their patients.

Doctors at theU-M Department of Urology are now partnering with the American College of Surgeons to evaluate prostate cancer care on a national scale. This study is the first of its kind and will yield important new information. Patients and their families will benefit by having factual information about the advantages and side effects of each type of prostate cancer therapy. More importantly, policymakers will have the data necessary to advance all patients’ quality of care — and quality of life.

*Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite


Opportunities for Givingfantasy football

Gifted physicians and scientists. The gifts of generous donors. It will take both, the gifted and the giving, to find a cure for prostate cancer.

There are now many opportunities at the University of Michigan Prostate Cancer Program for which funding is needed.

PROFESSORSHIPS – You can give a lasting gift through the establishment of an endowed Professorship. A contribution of $100,000 or more will provide an endowed scholarship. For $500,000, you can establish a Collegiate Professorship. With $1 million or more, we can add a Research Professorship. A Visiting Professorship can be endowed with $1.5 million. An endowment of $2.5 million supports an additional, full-time faculty member.

FACILITIES – If you wish to make a naming gift there are many ways in which you can help transform patient care. Suggested options include $25,000 for faculty offices; $250,000 for research laboratories, $2 million to name the Prostate Cancer Clinic or $5 million to name the Prostate Cancer Center.

RESEARCH PROGRAMS – Giving in this area supports life-saving research. To produce the initial data needed to win federal or state funding for one new research project, it takes $50,000 in start-up money. A gift of $100,000 or more can help sponsor high-risk studies in the area of prostate cancer, or create a fund for special equipment, needed supplies and technical support. Financial support in any amount for established clinical research teams allows us to continue work in areas that have great promise.


To learn more about this promising therapy, please contact Steffanie Fineman at 734.615.9843,,