On 10 January this year Professor Georg Bartsch passed away. Although a very modest and private person, he had a remarkable career and became one of urology’s prominent names. Born in Innsbruck, Austria, on July 5 1962, Prof. Bartsch studied medicine in his city of birth and began his career in the Department of Pathology at the University of Innsbruck.
Although he was first drawn to basic research in oncology, his love for patients and clinical work led him to switch from pathology to urology. Under the mentorship of Professor Hans Marberger, one of the distinguished experts in the urologic community, Prof. Bartsch avidly pursued his passion for urology.
He soon developed specific interests in andrology and researched the interactions between androgens and prostate cancer. He became chief of the Department of Urology in 1987, succeeding Prof. Marberger. He founded the laboratory for basic research in urology which focuses on prostate cancer studies. Publishing as lead author or in collaboration with other researchers, Prof. Bartsch was credited for writing significant publications which reaffirmed the reputation of the Department of Urology in Innsbruck as one of Europe’s leading urology departments.
Aside from various research initiatives in practically all scientific and clinical aspects of prostate cancer, he also initiated basic and clinical research in the immunotherapy of renal cancer. Throughout the years he collaborated with many well-known urologists and researchers as well as research laboratories in many countries. Urologists visited Innsbruck to see him work or conduct scientific work under his guidance. Prof. Bartsch was a visiting professor in distinguished institutions and lectured at major urological conferences.
Regionally, he was also known for introducing a no-cost PSA-based early detection programme for prostate cancer, participated in by men above the age of 50 in Tyrol. Among his honours, he was awarded the Harry Spence Medal of the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons in 2001, Honorary member of the European Association of Urology and received the AUA Certificate of Achievement Award of the American Urological Association.
The urological community has lost a great urological researcher, clinician and teacher. Bartsch’s wife Heidi has been his inspiration and steadfast supporter up to the difficult last years of his life. Our deepest condolences to her, their two children and grandchildren.