New opportunities for partnership between radiology and radiation oncology

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Since the discovery of the x-ray, radiology and radiation oncology have been sister disciplines. Recent progress has brought increasing points of interaction between the two and this is no better exemplified than by the close relationship between the ESR and the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO). The two societies will host a joint session at ECR 2015 focusing on this partnership and opportunities for future collaboration. To find out more about the session, ECR Today spoke to session co-chairman and ESTRO president, Prof. Philip Poortmans, of the Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Prof. Philip Poortmans, President of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology, will moderate today’s joint session on radiology and radiation oncology.

Prof. Philip Poortmans, President of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology, will moderate today’s joint session on radiology and radiation oncology.

ECR Today: How was this joint session between the ESR and ESTRO first initiated?
Philip Poortmans: The time of medical specialties working on their own is over. It is now all about cooperation and multidisciplinarity. Often when we talk about multidisciplinarity, people think only about doctors who are directly involved in treating the patient. In the case of breast cancer, for example, this would then be the surgeon, the radiation oncologist, the medical oncologist and in several countries also the gynaecologist. People often forget about diagnostic specialists like the pathologist and the radiologist. Radiation oncology is very closely linked to imaging in general; both to radiology and to nuclear medicine. So it is a field that is very important for us and a specialty with which it is essential for us to cooperate closely. For many years, ESTRO has run courses with contributions from radiologists and nuclear medicine specialists to teach our young colleagues, or colleagues who want CME, about the contribution of the diagnostic specialties. So this is not new at all. ESTRO and the ESR have an especially close relationship, with the former president of ESTRO, Prof. Vincenzo Valentini, and the ESR president, Prof. Lorenzo Bonomo, working in the same hospital. People in such positions who know each other very well can facilitate this process of close collaboration which then benefits us all. Of course, this means that last year we already had a joint session at the ECR. This collaboration is based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both societies, which includes agreements about education, guidelines, and scientific dissemination. A congress is of course always a mixture of both scientific dissemination, bringing new findings to the community, and education, so this nicely fits our mutual commitment.

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Population imaging studies gain ground in healthcare

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Watch this session on ECR Live: Thursday, March 5, 16:00–17:30, Room L1
Tweet #ECR2015L1 #PC8B

Imaging large cohorts of people enables scientists to collect information useful for science and emphasises radiology’s role in healthcare. From the most recently available imaging biomarkers to data such as genomics and metabolomics, Thursday’s dedicated Professional Challenges Session will show just how useful population imaging studies have become in the prognosis of countless diseases.

When radiologists follow a cohort of people for 20 or 30 years, the benefits for the patient increase tremendously. If a radiologist performs a CT examination of a patient’s coronary arteries and finds calcification, chances are that the patient will have a heart attack within the next few years. Unfortunately at this stage, the patient is usually out of the radiologist’s reach.

The fluid-attenuated inversion recovery axial image of a 26-year-old female participant shows multiple, bilateral, asymmetric, linear and ovoid hyperintensities that are located perpendicular callososeptal characteristic of multiple sclerosis

The fluid-attenuated inversion recovery axial image of a 26-year-old female participant shows multiple, bilateral, asymmetric, linear and ovoid hyperintensities that are located perpendicular callososeptal characteristic of multiple sclerosis

However, if patients chose to participate in a population study, they will be checked on a regular basis, and radiologists will be able to access previous information and initiate appropriate treatment earlier, significantly
improving patient outcome.

Securing imaging data is always tricky and population imaging studies are an opportunity for radiologists to access this data. Showing the relevance of imaging findings highlights radiology’s role in the medical continuum, according to Prof. Norbert Hosten, of the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University in Greifswald, Germany, who will chair
the session Thursday.

“Our way to prove that radiology can make people healthier and happier is to do large population imaging studies. Radiology can develop the kind of data that are necessary to prove that our methods really help the patient,” he said.

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Experts look into radiology’s future

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Watch this session on ECR Live: Thursday, March 5, 8:00–10:00, Room E2
Tweet #ECR2015E2 #PC5A

Radiology is changing. Its possibilities are expanding; its place in healthcare has evolved. However, it has also become more vulnerable to financial turmoil. The future of the profession will depend on how radiologists decide to act and how well they can cope with external factors, a panel of experts will explain during today’s Professional Challenges Session at the ECR.

Prof. Gabriel Krestin, from Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, will speak about upcoming challenges for radiologists in today’s session.

Prof. Gabriel Krestin,
from Erasmus MC,
University Medical Center
Rotterdam, will
speak about upcoming challenges
for radiologists in today’s session.

The emergence of quantitative imaging and the development of imaging biomarkers are transforming the face of radiology. An increasing number of biomarkers are being validated and accepted as measures for prognosis, diagnosis or therapy monitoring. The transition from research to clinical practice has started in many areas, and clinical radiologists have become aware of this evolution. They must learn how to use these new tools, but it is tempting to resist change, especially when it brings extra work, according to Prof. Gabriel Krestin, professor and chairman of the department of radiology at Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

“Radiologists don’t like to perform measurements in daily practice because they are not used to it. They haven’t been trained for that and it’s time consuming. For instance, if you do a cardiac examination, extracting quantitative data from that examination takes up to 30 minutes, so you need dedicated personnel to do that – preferably radiographers. The workflow of the radiologist could be seriously disrupted if he/she had to perform such extensive post-processing of images, and the consequence would be a decrease in efficiency, particularly because nobody pays for the additional measurements,” he said.

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Mar 2015
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Experts sound the alarm on dangers facing radiologists

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Watch this session on ECR Live: Wednesday, March 4, 16:00–17:30, Room E2
Tweet #ECR2015E2 #PC4A

Remember HAL 9000, the murderous computer in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’? This scenario doesn’t seem too far off when it comes to radiologists and the constant evolution of their technology. Luckily, they can still stay in control if they change their behaviour and remain at the head of the imaging process, experts will argue during a Professional Challenges session today at the ECR.

Radiologists must claim their place in the medical team if they are to survive. They must come out of the shadows and show that they can bring added value to the team, according to Jim Reekers, professor of interventional radiology at the University of Amsterdam, who will chair the session.

Jim Reekers, from the University of Amsterdam, will chair the session on the role of the radiologist.

Jim Reekers, from the
University of Amsterdam, will
chair the session on the role of the
radiologist.

“I want to make my colleagues aware that they should step out of their offices and act as doctors who work in multidisciplinary teams. Being the photographers or doctors who only give a report with a picture will not secure their future and the reason is very simple: anybody can make and look at a picture nowadays. The difference the radiologist brings is that he or she can give an interpretation of the picture within the context of a patient’s clinical situation. So the radiologist should become a doctor who gets involved with the patient’s situation,” he said.

There is more than one way to do this. For starters, to be on the same level as clinicians, radiologists must behave as such. That means they have to do more than just show the images in multidisciplinary team meetings, they have to sit and discuss them with the doctors.

“Have a junior show the images for you. While my junior presents the pictures, I am sitting together with the other specialists, and suggesting treatment and follow-up options or further diagnostic investigation. It is important to sit with the other doctors. There’s a big difference in how people see me. I’m one of them instead of being the guy who shows the pictures,” Reekers said.

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New treatments give hope to hearing impaired

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Watch this session on ECR Live: Wednesday, March 4, 08:30–10:00, Room E1
Tweet #ECR2015E1 #SF1B

Hearing loss can present many difficulties and obstacles to sufferers, and with ageing populations it’s set to become a major healthcare challenge. Many conditions such as congenital malformation of the inner ear or hypoplastic cochlear nerve can also lead to hearing loss, and sometimes deafness.

Fortunately, many new treatments are available to recover hearing, both partially and completely. Imaging plays an increasingly important role in therapy planning and follow-up, and there is hope on the research front, experts will show during a dedicated Special Focus session on Wednesday morning.

Microtia – congenital anomaly of external and middle ear, resulting in conductive hearing loss. External auditory canal is not patent (arrow), mastoid process is underdeveloped (arrowhead)

Microtia – congenital anomaly of external and middle ear, resulting in
conductive hearing loss. External auditory canal is not patent (arrow),
mastoid process is underdeveloped (arrowhead)

The prevalence of auditory problems in the Western world has doubled over the past 30 years. It is estimated that between 15 and 17% of the population will suffer hearing loss, due to ageing or congenital malformation, but also bad habits, according to Agnieszka Trojanowska, a radiologist at Lublin University Medical School, Poland, who will
chair the session.

“We start to see young adults in their early 30s with sensorineural hearing loss or other related problems because of high frequency noise, which is typical for listening to music. Twenty years ago, such a condition was linked with working in fabrics or on the street. But the good news is that even if you use your iPod a lot, the degree of hearing
loss is light to moderate, so this is not something that will considerably affect your life,” she said.

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Mar 2015
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Euro-BioImaging builds pan-European research infrastructure

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Euro-BioImaging will become a pan-European research infrastructure for biomedical imaging technologies. The project’s initial preparatory phase aiming at the development of the technical, legal, governmental and framework of Euro-BioImaging will end in mid-2014.

The results of the first Open call for Nodes

The results of the first Open call for Nodes

During the last year of the preparatory phase, Euro-BioImaging successfully carried out the first call for Nodes and finalised plans for its infrastructure model and user access policies.

In spring 2013, Euro-BioImaging published the first open call for Nodes, taking concrete steps towards the construction of a coordinated, open-access imaging infrastructure. Euro-BioImaging invited imaging facilities to submit their expressions of interest in becoming Euro-BioImaging Nodes. In total, 71 proposals for Euro-BioImaging Nodes were submitted by 221 institutions from 19 European countries. Fourteen proposals came from the medical imaging field and presented sound concepts for Nodes on Ultra-highfield MRI, MR/PET, population imaging and phase-contrast imaging. Ten proposals for molecular imaging were submitted.

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May 2014
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ESR initiatives to strengthen the visibility and role of imaging in personalised medicine

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An interview with Prof. Hans-Ulrich Kauczor, Heidelberg/DE, ESR Research Committee Chair

ECR Today: What are the Research Committee’s objectives?
Hans-Ulrich Kauczor: Our main tasks are to periodically survey the needs of the research community, as well as develop recommendations for radiologists to engage with different fields of research and innovation. We also work to assess the current status and develop recommendations on how to improve education in research and to provide strategic recommendations for the research field to the executive council. Last but not least, we aim to leverage cooperation between research disciplines and foster networking and liaising with scientific biomedical European societies.

Hans-Ulrich Kauczor is professor and chairman of radiology at the University of Heidelberg and director of diagnostic and interventional radiology at University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany. He chairs the ESR’s Research Committee.

Hans-Ulrich Kauczor is professor and chairman of radiology at the University of Heidelberg and director of diagnostic and interventional radiology at University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany. He chairs the ESR’s Research Committee.

ECRT: Why is it important to have a dedicated ESR subcommittee for imaging biomarkers?
HUK: The Subcommittee on Imaging Biomarkers was established to address the issues concerning the future development of image-derived quantitative biomarkers, its assessment, validation and standardisation.

The development of imaging biomarkers has become an integral part of modern medicine with a huge potential to advance the development of personalised medicine. Different types of imaging biomarkers (anatomical, functional, and molecular) are used for the detection and treatment of major diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurological and psychiatric diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, metabolic diseases, as well as inflammatory and autoimmunity based diseases. In contrast to other biomarkers, imaging biomarkers have the advantage of remaining non-invasive. They are also spatially and temporally resolved, non-destructive and repeatable over a long period, and have the potential for broad application. But before imaging biomarkers can be widely adopted, measures for standardisation and quality assurance must be implemented.

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Rising Stars exposes students to “the charms of radiology,” says former ECR President

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ECR Today spoke with Professor Małgorzata Szczerbo-Trojanowska, from Lublin, Poland, patron of the Rising Stars programme.

ECR Today: The Rising Stars programme is under your patronage this year. What motivated you to take on this role?

Malgorzata Szczerbo-Trojanowska: Medical students and residents will create the shape of radiology in the future. Therefore, those of us who care for our specialty should make an effort to encourage the best, brightest and most enthusiastic students to choose diagnostic imaging as their professional career.

I am very pleased to be involved in the preparation of the Rising Stars programme, which aims to create an interesting educational agenda for students and to encourage them to actively participate in the congress sessions specifically designed for them.

Professor Małgorzata Szczerbo-Trojanowska is Head of the Department of Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology at the Medical University in Lublin, Poland. She served as ECR Congress President in 2010.

Professor Małgorzata Szczerbo-Trojanowska is Head of the
Department of Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology at the
Medical University in Lublin, Poland. She served as ECR Congress
President in 2010.

I think this programme is a very important initiative of the European Society of Radiology and the ECR. Having been an academic teacher for many years, I am aware of the great significance of undergraduate education. It has always been my aim as chairperson of the radiology department at my university to offer attractive forms of radiology teaching and to expose students to the charms of radiology from the early years of their education. This is the way to raise their interest in this specialty and get them involved in radiology research. It is in the best interest of the future of radiology. So when I was offered to take patronage of the Rising Stars programme, I didn’t hesitate for even a second.

ECRT: Why should a medical student or radiology trainee take part in this programme?

MST: The European Congress of Radiology, one of the world’s leading radiological meeting, offers medical students and residents a unique opportunity to see the greatest scientists, practitioners, lecturers and teachers present some fascinating achievements of modern radiology. There are also many chances to learn the state of the art in a wide variety of imaging methods for a plethora of diseases, and to find answers to complex problems of contemporary medicine provided by world-renowned experts. Participation in the ECR shows the importance of radiology in patient care, its great impact on other areas of medicine, and its relevance in the progress of medicine.

By taking part in the Rising Stars programme, medical students, radiology trainees and radiography trainees have an opportunity to give a presentation on the results of their own research work and opinions, or ideas, related to medical studies. Visiting the ECR technical exhibition is always an exciting and stimulating experience, providing a unique opportunity to become acquainted with cutting-edge technologies and new solutions.

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Accomplished neuroradiologist delivers Röntgen lecture at ECR 2014

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In recognition of his exceptional contributions to medical research, particularly in the field of neuroradiology, the European Society of Radiology invited Professor Paul M. Parizel from Antwerp, Belgium, to present the Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Honorary Lecture at ECR 2014.

Professor Paul M. Parizel from Antwerp, Belgium.

Professor Paul M. Parizel from
Antwerp, Belgium.

Paul M. Parizel is chairman of Antwerp University Hospital’s department of radiology and full professor of radiology at the University of Antwerp’s faculty of medicine. He is also an elected member of the University of Antwerp’s board of trustees, representing the faculty of medicine and health sciences.

In 1982, Prof. Parizel received his medical degree (summa cum laude) from the University of Antwerp and he later went on to earn a PhD degree with a dissertation on ‘The influence of field strength on magnetic resonance imaging: a comparative study in physiochemical phantoms, isolated brain specimens and clinical applications’. He then continued his research thanks to a three-year grant from the Belgian government’s National Foundation for Scientific Research.

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Award-winning author delivers honorary lecture at ECR 2014

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by Morton A. Meyers

In recognition of his great contributions to abdominal radiology and his insightful publications on the history of science and medicine, Prof. Morton A. Meyers from East Setauket, NY, United States, was invited to deliver the Samuil A. Reinberg Honorary Lecture entitled, ‘The Tempestuous Genesis of MRI: Credit and Discredit’ at ECR 2014.

Prof. Morton A. Meyers from East Setauket, NY, United States.

Prof. Morton A. Meyers from East Setauket, NY, United States.

Prof. Morton A. Meyers is distinguished professor of radiology and medicine, as well as chairman emeritus of the department of radiology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (SUNY). He is author of the critically acclaimed books; Prize Fight: The Race and Rivalry to be the First in Science and Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs.

His book, Happy Accidents, won the prestigious CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title award in 2009 for excellence in scholarship and presentation, significance of contribution to the field and value as an important treatment of the subject.

In addition to teaching at SUNY, Prof. Meyers has served as visiting professor at more than 70 medical schools around the United States. He has also been in great demand as a lecturer, having received invitations to lecture in Japan, South Africa, China, Israel, Canada, Mexico and throughout Europe, to name but a few places. He has also received a number of awards from national and international societies, as well as the Walter B. Cannon Medal of the Society of Abdominal Radiology. Notably, he delivered the Opening Lecture at ECR 2003, since which he is proud to serve as an Honorary Member of the ESR.

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Mar 2014
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