For this month’s ESR News interview we spoke to Prof. Hans-Ulrich Kauczor, from Heidelberg, Germany, who serves on the ESR Executive Council as chair of the ESR Research Committee. He gave us an insight into the workings and recent achievements of his committee, as well as his own background within the ESR.
ESR Office: What is the main purpose of the ESR Research Committee (RC) and how does it work in practice?
Hans-Ulrich Kauczor: The main purpose of the RC is strategic. The RC provides strategic recommendations to the ESR Executive Council. To do this properly, the RC surveys and supports the need of researchers in radiology. Also, the RC leverages the research-focused collaboration with other disciplines and their respective European societies.
One recent major achievement in this regard was the collaboration with the European Respiratory Society (ERS), where we agreed on joint recommendations on lung cancer screening in Europe, which we published in May 2015 simultaneously in European Radiology and the European Respiratory Journal.
Other major collaborations are in the field of imaging biomarkers together with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the RSNA’s Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance (QIBA), as well as imaging biobanks with the Biobanking and BioMolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI-ERIC).
ESR: Can you explain the role of the Research Committee’s subcommittees and the recent structural changes that have taken place?
HUK: Just over two years ago, three additional working groups were established under the umbrella of the RC. Working groups exist temporarily to accomplish a certain goal for the ESR. The main goal of each of these working groups was to write and publish an opinion or white paper in their field. The outcomes in each of these fields were as follows:
Research Education and Training
- Research education in Europe: an opinion paper by the European Society of Radiology Insights Imaging (ePub March 2015), DOI: 10.1007/s13244-015-0397-x
- Building upon MD PhD programmes with relevance to imaging. Results from a European survey Volume 4 (2013) Issue 4 (Aug), p. 409-415, DOI: 10.1007/s13244-013-0249-5
- Education in research: results of a survey commissioned by the research committee of the European Society of Radiology Volume 2 (2012) Issue 6 (Dec), p.535-542, DOI: 10.1007/s13244-012-0184-x
- ESR Position Paper on Imaging Biobanks
Insights Imaging (ePub May 2015), DOI: 10.1007/s13244-015-0409-x
- Medical imaging in personalised medicine: a white paper of the research committee of the European Society of Radiology (ESR) Insights Imaging (ePub March 2015), DOI: 10.1007/s13244-015-0394-0
Which was based on the previous publication:
- Medical imaging in personalised medicine: a white paper of the research committee of the European Society of Radiology (ESR) Volume 2 (2011), Issue 6 (Dec), p.621-630; DOI: 10.1007/s13244-011-0125-0
These papers reflect the ESR’s strategy and include suggestions for courses of action for the ESR to follow. All three working groups accomplished their missions and had their papers published in Insights into Imaging in 2015, and thus they were discontinued after ECR 2015. Their fields of interest were transferred into the tasks of the Research Committee and EIBALL (European Imaging Biomarkers Alliance) respectively.
The ESR Research Committee’s Imaging Biomarkers Subcommittee was established several years ago and, among other achievements, published several opinion papers:
- Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting – a promising new approach to obtain standardized imaging biomarkers from MRI Insights Imaging (ePub March 2015), DOI: 10.1007/s13244-015-0403-3
- ESR statement on the stepwise development of imaging biomarkers Volume 4 (2013) Issue 2 (Apr), p.147-152, DOI: 10.1007/s13244-013-0220-5
- White paper on imaging biomarkers Volume 1 (2010), Issue 2 (May), p.42-45, DOI: 10.1007/s13244-010-0025-8
To introduce a clear focus for the current work of the subcommittee, collaborations with QIBA and EORTC were defined as the major action points during a brainstorming meeting in Vienna, in January 2015. To best carry out these new tasks, the subcommittee was transformed into the European Imaging Biomarkers Alliance (EIBALL). Its first activity was to provide ESR input into an opinion paper titled “A risk-management approach for imaging biomarker driven clinical trials in oncology“ which was written jointly with the EORTC and EANM (European Association of Nuclear Medicine) and was submitted to Lancet Oncology).
ESR: The ESR regularly publishes white papers, opinion papers, guidelines, etc. What part does the ESR Research Committee play in that process?
HUK: In 2014 and 2015 the RC was the most successful ESR committee with regard to the number of position papers published.
ESR: What are the main issues on the committee’s agenda in 2015 and how are they being tackled?
HUK: The main issue for the RC will be the extension of the collaboration with the ERS focusing on lung diseases; in particular, lung cancer and lung cancer screening. A joint guideline should be developed, and the implementation of a European image repository of lung cancer screening CT scans will be facilitated.
The second main issue is the initiation of a collaboration with the BBMRI-ERIC, with the aim of creating a comprehensive European network of imaging biobanks based on the structure of the BBMRI-ERIC’s existing network of biobanks. A joint workshop will be scheduled for the end of the year.
ESR: What new issues do you foresee the ESR Research Committee will be dealing with in the coming years?
HUK: As high-level innovation, evidence-generating trials and translation into clinical practice, as well as reimbursement plans are pivotal for the future of radiology, the RC will continue to anticipate and identify the current and future developments in the field and counsel the ESR Executive Council and Board of Directors accordingly. The RC will also support activities to implement a European infrastructure and networks to enable and facilitate research in imaging by radiologists and professionals in allied sciences.
ESR: Which other ESR committees or subcommittees have you been part of and how did you initially become involved?
HUK: I have been member of the ESR Research Committee as well as the ESR Education Committee in the past before becoming chair of the RC in 2013. For several years I have been involved in the Programme Planning Committees (PPC) for the ECR, starting as a member of the chest subcommittee, before becoming its chairperson in 2011. I have been a member at large of the PPC since 2013 and have been responsible for the postgraduate educational programme since 2015. I am also heavily involved in the European School of Radiology (ESOR) as a speaker, reviewer, tutor and member of its steering committee.
I initially became involved in the ESR as a board member and then president of the European Society of Thoracic Imaging (ESTI) in 2011.
ESR: What motivates you to devote your time to the ESR and how has being involved affected you personally and professionally?
HUK: I enjoy working for the future of radiology on a European level. There are so many important, not-to-be-missed opportunities to ensure a bright future for radiology run by radiologists in Europe. It is always a pleasure to work together with ambitious and bright people from the different European countries for our common goals. Running the ESR Research Committee and contributing to the many facets of the programme planning for the ECR means devoting a lot of time. However, when participating in our great and innovative ECR meeting or receiving feedback on our opinion papers in the field of research, I feel rewarded and it becomes clear that it was worthwhile to contribute to the success of the ESR.