A first: EAU Research Foundation Special Session

19 January 2016

For the first time at the Annual EAU Congress, the EAU’s Research Foundation (EAU RF) has its own special session, a two-hour block on Saturday afternoon. The EAU RF will take the opportunity to not only present an update on its currently running projects, but also to emphasise these projects’ relevance for daily practice for urologists and patients alike.

EAU RF Chairman Prof. Peter Mulders (Nijmegen, NL) spoke to European Urology Today on how the EAU RF’s long-running clinical trials and research projects are designed to improve urologists’ decision-making. “This marks the first time that our activities are showcased in this way. We hope it stimulates discussion and participation, and that urologists see a side of the EAU RF that they might not have been aware of.”

Research Projects

In the past, the EAU RF has been represented at the Congress by a booth at the Exhibition, as well as contributing speakers to other sessions on its behalf. “We have so many different projects and initiatives that it became difficult to effectively get this across to our target audience,” Mulders explained.

“Our main aim with presenting all of our upcoming and currently running trials and projects in a single session is to invite participation. We want to explain why the EAU RF supports or organises these specific projects, what their scientific value is, and ultimately how the patient may benefit from them.”

One of the new research projects is ‘PRostate Evaluation for Clinically Important disease: Sampling using Image-guidance Or Not?’ or PRECISION for short. It is a randomised controlled trial of MRI-targeted biopsy, as compared to standard trans-rectal ultrasound guided biopsy for the diagnosis of prostate cancer in men without prior biopsy. PRECISION is an investigator-initiated project.

Mulders: “The project examines the value of MRI for patients with PCa, including how MRI and biopsy can complement each other. The database is maintained in the management system at the EAU’s Central Office in the Netherlands.” Prof. Mark Emberton (London, GB) is set to introduce the project and encourage cooperation from people interested in participating.

The EAU RF’s NIMBUS trial is independently-initiated and, uniquely, also independently funded. Led by Prof. Marc-Oliver Grimm (Jena, DE), NIMBUS examines the efficacy of a reduced number of intravesical BCG instillations (9 instead of 15 annually) for patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This trial has the potential to recommend a procedure that spares patients from unnecessary treatment, side-effects and higher costs.

Another relatively new EAU RF project is EASE. Dr. Alessandro Volpe (Turin, IT) initiated the research project and continues to coordinate it. Mulders: “This registry takes place in multiple countries and tracks older patients with small kidney tumours and whether or not this leads to progression. At EAU16, we will explain the scientific basis of the trial and invite urologists from other countries to register their patients as well.”

Longer-term registries already underway at the EAU RF include GPIU/ SERPENS, which tracks the antibiotic resistance in urinary tract infections in patients across Europe. Prof. Truls Erik Bjerklund Johansen (Oslo, NO) leads the project, and he will present the latest results, asking if antibiotic resistance is a current or a future issue for the practicing urologist. Mulders: “These projects deliver practical results, so they should be of interest for active urologists, not just researchers. We encourage them to reflect on their daily practice. On the other hand, it’s a case of showcasing how basic research can be performed and coordinated by the EAU RF.”

Career Track update

In recent years, the EAU Research Foundation has taken an interest in supporting the career development of young researchers. One of its initiatives in this regard is the EAU RF Career Development Programme. Through this programme, the Foundation aims to support excellent young researchers to develop an independent research career and in doing so strengthen the urology research environment.

The EAU RF Career Development Programme gives the researcher the opportunity to transition from a senior postdoctoral research position to an independent principal investigator with three years of independent funding under the mentorship of an experienced principal investigator. The primary focus of selection is “excellence” and the secondary focus is “translational research” building the bridge between basic science and clinical research. The programme considers applications which would establish intrainstitutional collaborations and maximize the potential of the European research community.

“Our session highlights all the possibilities of the EAU RF, like encouraging and supporting research in urology,” Prof. Mulders explained. Dr. Jens Ceder (Malmö, SE), the first researcher to be supported through the Career Track Programme, will present preliminary findings from his team’s research on cancer stem cells and their role in resistance to conventional therapies in PCa. A new research track will commence this year, under Dr. Alvaro Aytes Meneses (Barcelona, ES). It will be focussed on prostate cancer and treatment options.

Find out more about the EAU Research Foundation and all of its ongoing projects here