It is my great pleasure to take over presidency of the ISUP for the next two years, which according to our bylaws becomes effective a week after our annual general meeting (AGM) that was held on Sunday 12th March. This weekend I returned home from the USCAP meeting in New Orleans: a fantastic experience and the many personal encounters and the wealth of scientific and diagnostic information offered here were overwhelming. This is the more so, as the covid pandemic that has impacted our lives so forcefully and unexpectedly for nearly three years is eventually tapering out and the careful return to normality in terms of a conference in presence was a great relief and joy for everyone. “The future of urological pathology is bright!” was the essence of an impromptu analysis of ChatGPT and I am inclined to share this optimism.
We have a couple of changes to the ISUP board I want to introduce you to. First and foremost, I thank our immediate past president Ken Iczkowski for his wonderful work during his presidency and I am particularly grateful for his continuing support as I settle in in my new position. The introduction of our hugely successful “ISUP presents” series, initiated by our marvelous secretary Jon Oxley was immediately and intensely promoted by Dr. Iczkowski. Another innovation Ken introduced was the “Journal Club”, which we will keep as a format for scientific exchange. I am glad that Jon has decided to stay on the council a bit longer, also, to ensure that Sara E. Wobker (University of North Carolina) has a good start in her new position of moderator of “ISUP presents”. Welcome to the board, Sara! Also, Theo van der Kwast (University of Toronto) is leaving our board after completing his 6-year term as President (including pre- and past-president years) – thank you Theo for all your enthusiasm and work for the Society! Our treasurer Steven Shen also deserves our sincere gratitude for his work that he has done in the last six years. The finance of a society, especially a non-profit society, is of utmost importance and keeping up with all these financial membership issues in a manual manner means a lot of invisible work which I therefore want to highlight thankfully. We are currently considering to automate some of these aspects to ease the work for his successor Nancy Greenland (UCSF) – welcome to the board, Nancy!
An indispensable component of our international board are our councilors. I feel that their position ought to be strengthened in the future. I thank all councilors for their continued support. We are deeply indebted to the work of Sean Williamson from the Cleveland Clinic, who has served as Councilor for North America for the last four years. He now rotates off and is followed by Michelle Downes (University of Toronto) – welcome to the board, Michelle!
In the recent election for the upcoming presidency of ISUP Liang Cheng was elected for this position, starting now. Liang does not need to be introduced to the GU community, suffice it to say that he had already served ISUP for many years as treasurer (2005-2011) and he also brings in a lot of experience on the board. Welcome again to the board, Liang! I look forward to work with this great team of you all.
The core task of ISUP is to serve the GU pathology community by providing a platform for exchange, education and standardization. The consensus conferences organized by ISUP were globally practice changing and hugely successful and this is to be continued. It is important to note, that this has become a bit more challenging by the recent foundation of the Genitourinary Pathology Society (GUPS). My personal attitude towards this development is friendly and positive and we could very well witness the positive aspects of a broader representation of Urological Pathology at this USCAP meeting. The companion meetings on Sunday showcased 4 full hours of excellent education provided hand in hand by ISUP and GUPS, later in the evening both societies celebrated the Grawitz Dinner together, perfectly organized by Gladell Paner, Steven Smith, Larak Harik and Mahul Amin. As I pointed out in my short presentation at the AGM, I personally think it wise if both Societies reach out their antennas to each other to harmonize statements of recommendation and to provide our clinical partners some mutual comments as to explain, why and where positions or recommendations differ. They deserve it. I have experienced the doubtfulness and insecurity of several clinicians myself and we should therefore be more careful in this respect in the future. In this sense, I wish Rajal Shah (UT Southwestern), who is taking over GUPS presidency now, all the best and I am glad to see that we are on good terms together.
The plan of my presidency is to continue the work of ISUP in all its successful aspects; I am not a person of too vivid visions (…citing our former german chancellor Helmut Schmidt, that “people with visions should see a doctor”), but I foresee, fully in line with ChatGPT, fruitful times ahead. Later this year, we will conduct the first consensus conference on urachal and glandular lesions of the bladder. We felt that reducing the topic to urachal neoplasms might be unnecessarily limiting and we thank the initiators Gladell Paner (University of Chicago) and Hennig Reis (University of Frankfurt) for their suggestion and the excellent program, that will take place preceding the ECP meeting in Dublin.
As I alluded above, I would like to strengthen cooperation with our sister society GUPS. An exciting opportunity may thus be the meeting proposal of Dan Berney (Queen Mary University of London) and Andres Costa (Indiana University), who are proposing a joint meeting on testicular stromal tumors, to take place during the USCAP meeting in Baltimore 2024. This is certainly a niche topic, at least very focused, but maybe a blueprint for greater endeavors. For 2025 we have no fixed plans yet, I personally would like to look again at Handling and Staging of RP specimens, which was last evaluated in 2009. Many things have evolved during these years including intraoperative frozen section diagnostics and improved pre-operative diagnostics by mpMRI.
The image base catalogue of expert rated GU tumors at the ISUP website, developed by our former president Lars Egevad (Karolinska Institute, Sweden) is unique in its structure. We are currently exploring to make even more use of this by developing tests, which enable the users to benchmark their individual grading/rating with that of experts. The final test will always be real life, but to have achieved an “ISUP grading certificate” before, will certainly be a reassuring asset.
I would like to conclude that every society is a vital as its membership and in this sense, I want to thank you all for your continued support and interest in urological pathology. Please be encouraged to contact me to let me know, how we can become even better in serving your purposes.
With best regards,
President of the International Society of Urological Pathology