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In the News

John Dodge establishes the Center for Male Sexual Health and Wellness to focus on the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

August 14, 2009

John Dodge, PA-C, M.P.A.S announces the establishment of The Center for Male Sexual Health and Wellness at the Vanguard Urologic Institute. The Center will provide evaluation and management of erectile dysfunction in the broader context of health issues that impact the incidence and treatment of this problem that commonly affects men as they age, including cardiovascular health, testosterone levels and replacement, prostate enlargement and elevated prostate specicific antigen (PSA) levels.
Click here to read John Dodge's bioClick here to visit the Vanguard Centers of Excellence.

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Dr. Kevin Slawin, Director of the Vanguard Urologic Institute and Consulting Chief Medical Office for Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, announces initiation of Phase I/IIa Clinical Trial of a Novel Vaccine for Patients with Advanced Prostate Cancer

August 6, 2009

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced dosing of the first patient in a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of BP-GMAX-CD1, a novel pharmacologically regulated dendritic cell vaccine for the treatment of prostate cancer. The disease-specific trial is being conducted under a Bellicum Investigational New Drug application allowed by the FDA in 2008. The company anticipates reporting initial results of the study in 2010. 

BP-GMAX-CD1 is a novel cancer vaccine that can be precisely activated at an optimal time and location in the body. It is produced by genetically modifying autologous antigen-loaded dendritic cells to express an inducible costimulatory CD40 (iCD40) receptor. Twenty-four hours after intradermal administration, these genetically modified dendritic cells are activated in draining lymph nodes by intravenous administration of AP1903, a small-molecule dimerizer agent developed by ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARIA). In this way, the immune system’s innate homeostasis is overridden and a potent and durable antigen-specific T cell response may be generated.

The dose-escalation trial will evaluate the safety of BP-GMAX-CD1 and AP1903 in a minimum of 24 patients with androgen independent prostate cancer (also known as castrate resistant prostate cancer or CRPC). Six doses will be administered on a weekly or every other week schedule, with responses assessed at week 13. Patients whose disease has not progressed at the end of this acute phase will be eligible to receive booster vaccinations every eight weeks for up to one year. Exploratory efficacy endpoints include prostate-specific antigen dynamics, circulating tumor cell count, antigen-specific immune response, and clinical response.

Bellicum consulting Chief Medical Officer, Kevin M. Slawin, M.D., stated, “This first clinical trial of BP-GMAX-CD1 is designed to establish proof of principle for our core iCD40 technology, which has been engineered to overcome the critical potency limitations of previous cancer vaccine strategies. Dosing the first patient is an exciting and significant milestone in our quest to deliver safer and more effective therapies to patients with advanced cancer.”

The small-molecule dimerizer, AP1903, and the ARGENT™ cell-signaling regulation technology underlying BP-GMAX-CD1 were licensed from ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. AP1903 is designed to bring together two proteins and activate them. In the case of BP-GMAX-CD1, administration of AP1903 to patients leads to controlled activation of the ARGENT-regulated protein iCD40. AP1903 was previously shown by ARIAD to be well-tolerated with defined pharmacokinetics in a Phase 1 clinical trial. 

“This is an exciting application of ARIAD’s dimerizer technology, with the potential for therapeutic benefit linked to precise control of signaling events inside cells,” stated Timothy P. Clackson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of ARIAD. “We congratulate Bellicum on this first application of the dimerizer technology in cancer patients.”

For additional information or to learn how to participate in this Clinical Trial, you may access www.clinicaltrials.gov here.

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Dr. Kevin Slawin establishes the Center for Screening, Prevention, Detection, Surveillance, and Minimally Invasive and Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer

August 1, 2009

The Vanguard Center for Screening, Prevention, Detection, Surveillance, and Minimally Invasive and Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer was developed specifically to bring to bear the entire body of knowledge with respect to controversial issues surrounding PSA-based screening for prostate cancer.  We apply the most up to date knowledge and guidelines, and use the latest online web-enabled nomograms and other tools, to help men make the best, most well-informed decisions that fits each man’s philosophy and goals with respect to his health and lifestyle

Dr. Slawin will serve as the Director of the Center.  Dr. Shu, the Director of Endourology and Minimally Invasive Surgery, will also be seeing and treating patients in the Center.

Click here to visit the Vanguard Centers of Excellence.

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Dept. of Urology at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, headed by VUI leader Dr. Kevin Slawin, earns distinction as one of the nation's top Urology programs in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals" for the second year in a row

July 16, 2009

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center has earned distinction as one of the nation's top hospitals in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals" issue for the second year in a row in the categories of kidney disease and urology.

Just 174 hospitals of more than 5,100 U.S. hospitals meet the rigorous criteria required to be recognized as a "Top 50 hospital" in key medical/surgical specialties.The magazine scores the quality of inpatient care based on each hospital's teaching status, advanced technological capabilities, patient volumes, reputation with physicians, mortality statistics, nursing proficiency and other measures relevant to each specialty.

"Continued national recognition for our programs speaks to the combination of innovation and medical expertise from our University of Texas Medical School at Houston partners and the caring nurses and staff at Memorial Hermann-TMC who work diligently to uphold the highest standards of patient care," says Juanita Romans, CEO, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. "The care offered at Memorial Hermann-TMC is found only among national leaders in medicine, and that's what makes us one of America's best hospitals."

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center is home to the Vanguard Urologic Institute, headed by world-renowned urologist and researcher Dr. Kevin Slawin. Dr. Slawin, professor in the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is a leader in prostate cancer research.

In July 2009, the first patient was enrolled in an early phase clinical trial for men with advanced prostate cancer, evaluating a novel prostate cancer vaccine technology developed by Dr. Slawin and his colleagues.

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Vanguard physicians now participate in a number of insurance plans

June 9, 2009

Our physicians are now “in network” providers for the following insurance plans.  Click here to visit our Insurance Participation page

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Dr. Christopher Jayne joins Vanguard Urologic Institute specializing in urogynecology and voiding dysfunction at the Texas Continence Center, now known as the Rodney A. Appell Center for Continence and Pelvin Health 

March 1, 2009

Christopher J. Jayne, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., a board-certified gynecologist with expertise in urogynecology, voiding dysfunction, pelvic pain and female sexual dysfunction, has joined the medical staff at the Vanguard Urologic Institute’s Rodney A. Appell Center for Continence and Pelvic Health and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.

A native of central New York, Dr. Jayne graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine. After completing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in 2000, he served on active duty with the United States Air Force through June 2003.

In August 2003, he founded the Center for Women’s Sexual Health at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas, specializing in the treatment of female sexual dysfunction and chronic pelvic pain. As the medical director, he also participated in clinical research as a principal and coordinating investigator through June 2008. Dr. Jayne was pursuing additional subspecialty training in urology, a rarity among gynecologists, under the tutelage of world-renowned urologic surgeon Rodney Appell, M.D., when Dr. Appell passed suddenly and unexpectedly in January 2009. As Dr. Appell’s fellow, Dr. Jayne focused on the diagnosis and treatment of voiding dysfunction and incontinence in men and women. Dr. Jayne plans to continue in the great tradition established by Dr. Appell, providing state of-the-art diagnosis in Vanguard’s on-site Urodynamics Laboratory, and treatment to men and women with incontinence and voiding dysfunction.

Dr. Jayne will also continue his research interests, focusing on incontinence and novel methods of treating these disorders. Dr. Jayne has clinical faculty appointments at the Scott Department of Urology and the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and is a diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is also certified by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

Click here to read Dr. Jayne's bioClick here to visit the Vanguard Centers of Excellence.
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World-renowned surgeon Rodney A. Appell, M.D., Director of the Texas Continence Center, passed away on January 19, 2009 

January 20, 2009

World-renowned surgeon Rodney Appell, M.D., Director of the Texas Continence Center, in the Vanguard Urologic Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, died on January 19, 2009, following an illustrious career in academic urology. Prior to joining Vanguard in 2008, he served as a professor of urology and gynecology and chief of the Division of Voiding Dysfunction and Female Urology at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Appell was also a clinical professor in the Department of Urology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and a member of the medical staff at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. In honor of his memory and outstanding contributions to urology, the center will be renamed the Rodney A. Appell Center for Continence and Pelvic Health.

Dr. Appell grew up in Philadelphia and earned his undergraduate degree at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He attended medical school at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and went on to complete his residency training in urology at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Appell served on the faculty at Louisiana State University in New Orleans and spent many years practicing at the Cleveland Clinic. He moved to Houston in 2000, joining the faculty of the Scott Department of Urology at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Appell received numerous awards, including, most recently, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Urodynamics and Female Urology. He was a member of many professional societies and served on the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee of the National Association for Continence and both the Guidelines Committee and the Special Women’s Issues in Urology Committee of the American Urological Association. Dr. Appell was also on the editorial boards of several publications, including the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, International Urogynecology Journal, Journal of Urology, International Journal of the Proctological and Perineal Diseases, Neurourology and Urodynamics and Urology. During the past 25 years, he was invited as visiting professor or speaker at more than 800 national and international society meetings, symposia and conferences. He was awarded many grants to investigate urinary incontinence and authored or coauthored more than 150 journal articles, 16 books and 40 book chapters. His research interests were injectable agents for stress urinary incontinence and pharmacological agents for the overactive bladder.

Dr. Appell was also an extraordinary teacher and mentor, having trained countless students, residents and fellows in the art and science of caring for patients with voiding dysfunction and incontinence. He will be remembered for his seriousness of purpose, his directness in his personal interactions and his limitless love for his family, his friends and his work.

Click here to read Dr. Appell's posthumous bio.

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