Profiles: New Chairs for Robotics, Urolithiasis and Uropathology Sections

10 November 2021 By Loek Keizer

EAU21 was not only a scientific highlight for urology in its own right, but it played an important part for the future of the Association too. At the General Assembly on 12 July 2021, which was the first in over two years, existing EAU Board members could formally retire and be succeeded by their replacements. The same goes for the chairs of the EAU’s Sections.

In 2021, there are three new faces for the EAU Sections for Robotic Urology (ERUS), Urolithiasis (EULIS) and Uropathology (ESUP). We spoke with the incoming chairmen as they start their new terms.

ERUS
Prof. Alberto Breda (Barcelona, ES) will succeed Prof. Alexandre Mottrie (Aalst, BE) as chairman of the EAU Robotic Urology Section. Prof. Mottrie was the ERUS Chairman ever since ERUS joined the EAU as a section in 2011, making this a transitional moment for the section.

Prof. Breda is Chief of the Uro-Oncology Unit at the Fundació Puigvert in Barcelona and well-known within the EAU. Until recently he was chair of the Laparoscopic Group within the EAU Section of Uro-Technology, and he remains a member of the Scientific Congress Office and Chairman of the Renal Transplantation Guidelines Panel. Prof. Breda is specialised in minimally invasive surgery in the field of Uro-Oncology and Kidney transplantation.

“Prof. Mottrie is a role model for many of us,” said Prof. Breda, reflecting on his predecessor. “He has been a pioneer in robotic surgery and many of us learned the way to perform certain robotic surgeries from him.”

“Moreover, he is a talented speaker, a team player and an excellent human being. He is actively involved in training surgeons from all over around the world and possibly this is among his main merits. I am willing to push the ERUS forward and I am happy that I will be able to count on the help of many talented ERUS board members including Prof. Mottrie, who will still be actively involved in education within ERUS and at ORSI, the OLV Robotic Surgery Institute in Belgium.”

Ambitions
Prof. Breda is taking over at an interesting point for robotic urology: more and more companies are close to bringing new robotic systems to market, potentially opening doors for new applications for surgical robots and costs coming down. Prof. Breda: “The ERUS has become a great society and it represents a trade union between robotics and urology. ERUS, as many other societies, have been able to grow thanks to the effort of many talented surgeons and assistants and thanks to a strict collaboration with Intuitive over the past 15 years.”

“Nowadays there are at least three new robotic companies coming in the market, and one major issue will be the way we will be able to provide training to the surgeons with all the new machines.”

“Furthermore, I believe there are still too many national sub-societies that are not able to be represented within Europe. One of my main ambitions is to give a voice to these societies and to help them get the recognition they deserve by embracing an alliance with the ERUS. Finally, I am committed to entering close collaborations with the major academic centres in the world to give our young robotic urologists an opportunity to apply for exchange programmes that would benefit their careers.”

EULIS
Prof. Christian Seitz (Vienna, AT) has succeeded Prof. Kemal Sarica (Istanbul, TR) as chairman of EULIS, the EAU Urolithiasis Section. Prof. Seitz is Head of the Stone Clinic and head of Robotic Surgery at the Urology Department of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. He has been a EULIS board member since 2013 and has been on the EAU Guidelines panel on Urolithiasis since 2009.

“Prof. Sarica promoted EULIS successfully in all parts of the world,” said Prof. Seitz. “He always steered EULIS in a professional and friendship-driven way, in which collaboration and multidisciplinarity was always a key to success. To say it in his words we were all ‘brothers and sisters in stones’.”

“Our section works in line with the EAU organisational structure. I see the strength of EULIS in its multidisciplinary approach to urolithiasis, working in close cooperation with paediatricians, nephrologists, nutrition scientists, research dieticians, radiologists and other affiliated medical professionals keeping up with new developments. Therefore, EULIS deals with all aspects of stone disease treatment: from diagnosis, intervention to metabolics, nutrition, metaphylaxis and prevention.”

“Together with our board, associates and affiliate members I want to further promote this multidisciplinarity through our workshops, webinars, congress participation and our biannual meetings. Additionally, we will support fellowship programmes in centres of excellence aiming at that integrated approach.”

Upcoming developments in urolithiasis
Prof. Seitz sees many developments in the coming years for urolithiasis, something that the section will also be dealing with in their meetings and educational efforts. “Innovations in technology like further miniaturisation of instruments, and improved or new lithotripsy and stone removal devices are continuous developments supporting the concept of a ‘personalised stone approach’.”

“Urologists should be aware that genetics, microbiomes and proteomics are developing fields, aiming to unravel urolithiasis disease mechanisms. Beyond that, machine learning and deep learning applications, both subsets of artificial intelligence, are gaining significant interest in urology and have the potential to revolutionize the decision-making process.”

ESUP
The EAU Section of Uropathology, ESUP, welcomes Maurizio Colecchia (Milan, IT) as its new chairman, succeeding Prof. Rodolfo Montironi (Ancona, IT).

Maurizio Colecchia is Associate Professor of Pathology at Vita Salute University San Raffaele. He is Chair of the Uropathology Working Group of the European Society of Pathology, Chair of Uropathology Group, Societa’ Italiana di Patologia (SIAPEC) and member of its Scientific Committee. Prof. Colecchia is a member of several other pathology-related bodies and a widely cited author. This is his first appointment with the EAU.

Asked if being Italian was in some way useful for the chairman of ESUP, Prof. Colecchia explained the important role of uropathologists in urology in Italy: “In Italy many uropathologists have an important role in clinical practice with involvement in guidelines regarding the management of urologic neoplasms, contributing to the activities of the national scientific society of Pathology (SIAPEC), and as expected experts to many chapters of the WHO Classification of Genitourinary Society of Pathology, 5th edition.”

Uropathology
“Uropathology research also focuses on themes of applied pathology, approached in close collaboration with the clinicians, backed up by appropriate epidemiological support, while not neglecting the traditional framework as the basis of a modern gauged characterization of pathological settings.”

“Nowadays, the increase of molecular tests for diagnostic and prognostic use in daily practice is relevant and EAU members have to be aware of the impact of molecular predictive tests on the response to therapy in GU neoplasms. Prostate cancer risk for male BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 mutation carriers has been introduced in the assessment of personal and familial predisposition to carry PCa, and the role of immunotherapy with protocols requiring PDL 1 evaluation is central both in adjuvant as well as neoadjuvant chemotherapies.”

“My ambitions with ESUP are to have a collaborative role in EAU to work up an update in the field of basic and translational research, regarding the aetiology and pathogenesis of urological diseases.”

Prof. Jens Rassweiler (Heilbronn, DE), Chairman of the EAU Section Office marks the transition of Section Chairs:

“On behalf of the EAU, I would like to thank the departing chairmen for many years of duty to their section and the EAU in general. I look forward to working with their successors and wish them all the best in their new positions. We will support their sections in any way we can.”

For more information about the EAU’s Sections, visit www.uroweb.org/sections.

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