CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: Oct. 8, 2002
(Photo: Richard D. Williams, M.D., UI professor and head of the department
and the Rubin H. Flocks Chair in Urology)
UI Department of Urology celebrates 75th anniversary
one of the first prostate cancer treatments, establishing the nation's first
sperm bank, graduating the first female resident in urology -- these are among
the achievements the Department of Urology at the University of Iowa Roy J.
and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will celebrate in recognition of
its 75th anniversary. The department, which is the second oldest academic
urology department in the nation, will hold its celebration Oct. 11-12.
The celebration will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the
Iowa Urological Society. The scientific portion of the meeting will include
talks by former residents, faculty and staff. Nearly 100 people have signed
up to attend the anniversary celebration. Following the event, the department
will host the Second Annual International Prostate Cancer Research Conference.
The UI Department of Urology is one of the largest such departments in the
country and has specialists in all areas of urology, said Richard D. Williams,
M.D., UI professor and head of the department and the Rubin H. Flocks Chair
"The early pioneers of the department set the pace for us to advance
patient care, urologic investigations and education of medical students and
residents," said Williams, who has served as department head since 1984.
"The past advances in urology as a whole have been incredible, and the
future holds even more promise. As a department, it has been exciting to be
part of this growth."
The department has grown exponentially since Nathaniel Alcock, M.D., was
recruited in 1923 to develop a teaching program for students and residents.
In 1927, the department was formally established with Alcock as department
Williams holds the chair named for the second department head, Rubin H. Flocks,
M.D., who served from 1949 to 1974. In addition to promoting medical student
and resident education opportunities, Flocks developed the radioisotopic treatment
of prostate cancer with colloidal radioactive gold, known as brachytherapy.
Bernard Fallon, M.D., professor, now directs the brachytherapy program as
well as the sexual dysfunction program.
Some of the greatest growth in the UI Department of Urology has been in research
capacity. David Lubaroff, Ph.D., UI professor and a researcher with the Iowa
City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was recruited in 1973 as the first basic
scientist in the department. In 1997, Timothy Ratliff, Ph.D., professor, was
recruited to hold the Andersen-Hebbeln Endowed Chair of Prostate Cancer Research.
The department's research team now includes 33 investigators and staff and
collaborates with the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI. The department
and Holden Cancer Center recently announced a $10 million campaign to fund
the J. Hayden Fry Center for Prostate Cancer Research.
One of the leading areas of urologic cancer research at the UI is gene therapy
for prostate cancer treatment, which involves manipulating the body's immune
system to battle cancer at the cellular level. The department also is home
to clinical trials for superficial bladder cancer, a prevalent but often undertreated
condition. Those investigations are led by Michael O'Donnell, M.D., associate
professor. Others participating in urologic cancer research and/or treatment
at the UI are Thomas Griffith, Ph.D., assistant professor; and Badrinath Konety,
M.D., assistant professor; and Yi Luo, M.D. associate research scientist.
A new program associated with the department involves the da Vinci robotic
surgery device, which uses robots and computers to allow for more precise
surgical treatment with quicker and less painful recovery for patients. Howard
Winfield, M.D., UI professor of urology, who helped bring the new technology
to the UI earlier this year, also performed the world's first laparoscopic
(minimally invasive) partial nephrectomy (removal of a portion of the kidney)
in 1992 at the UI.
The UI Department of Urology is home to the only male infertility clinic
in the state. In the mid-1950s faculty member Raymond Bunge, M.D., developed
a special medium for preserving sperm, which led the way to artificial insemination
as a clinical treatment for infertility and the UI's launching of the first
sperm bank in the United States. This treatment program now is directed by
Jay Sandlow, M.D., associate professor of urology, who is organizing the 75th
The department also is known for its leadership in urodynamics care, which
under the directorship of Karl Kreder, M.D., professor, helps people with
voiding dysfunction (problems with urination and incontinence).
Also known for its extensive pediatric urology services, the department has
the only two fellowship-trained pediatric urologists in the state, Christopher
Cooper, M.D., assistant professor, and Christopher Austin, M.D., assistant
"The past achievements in urology have been incredible, but the future
holds even more promise," Williams said. "As a department we will
continue our legacy by pursuing research for improved treatments, offering
patient care in all specialty areas and providing outstanding educational
opportunities for our residents and medical students."
Individuals with secondary appointments in the UI Department of Urology are:
Michael B. Cohen, M.D., UI professor and head of pathology, and Amy Sparks,
Ph.D., UI research scientist in obstetrics and gynecology.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics
and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services
they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.