Urology‘s future rests on innovative advances in key areas

Fri, 15 Mar 2013

With lilting opera music performed by the Cameristi del Teatro alla Scala as backdrop, the 28th Annual EAU Congress opened with a festive salute to Europe’s opinion leaders who challenged young urologists to exert more efforts in finding innovative solutions across urology’s various specialties.

“My advice to young urologists would be not to limit themselves to urology, but also take an interest in pathology or infectious diseases, for instance, in order to understand the field of medicine better, as well as the patients. Try to be aware of urology’s many aspects and don’t become a keyhole specialist,” said Prof. Urs Studer (CH) who was awarded the EAU Innovators in Urology Award.

Studer joined Prof. Clement Claude Abbou (FR) who was awarded the Willy Gregoir Medal, the EAU’s highest honour. Abbou reiterated Studer’s comment as he urged his younger colleagues to expand their interests.

“Don’t focus on one topic. Do clinical or translational research. Research is very important, since doing only clinical activity can sometimes be a mistake. We’re not only technicians, we also have to be an active contributor to the bigger medical community,” Abbou said.

Also cited for their achievements were Patrizio Rigatti (IT), Ioanel Sinescu (RO) and Rainy Umbas (ID) who were granted honorary EAU membership. Jan Breza (SK) was given the Frans Debruyne Lifetime Achievement Award, while Peter Borström (FI) won the Crystal Matula Award. Prof. Jens Rassweiler (DE) and his team won the Hans Marberger Award for the best European paper published in 2012 on minimally invasive surgery. Irfan Ahmad (GB) won the first EAU Prostate Cancer Research Award with his experimental studies on prostate cancer.

EAU Secretary General Per-Anders Abrahamsson (SE) welcomed congress participants as he noted that every year the annual meeting attracts a wider audience in and outside Europe. “We’re making progress together,” said Abrahamsson, adding that the EAU congress extends beyond political and geographical borders with its emphasis on science.

Studer said there are many developments in uro-oncology, for instance drugs for renal cell carcinoma or surgical techniques in muscle-invasive bladder cancer, but the biggest challenge in urology will be to learn to find and select the patients that will benefit from these new developments. “The focus should shift to individual patients and away from groups of patients. Minimally invasive techniques are here to stay but the surgeon will always make the difference,” he added.