As in past years, Dr. Dan Sperling joined Guest Faculty in presenting a special two-day annual course, “Advances in Prostate Imaging and Ablative Treatment of Prostate Cancer” (New York University, June 20-21). The program was aimed primarily at urologists who are interested in learning about the latest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cognizant that this technology is driving change in the detection, diagnosis, and targeted treatment of prostate cancer.

Dr. Sperling was among fellow luminaries that included NYU faculty members, as well as national and international clinicians and researchers. Dr. Herbert Lepor, Chairman and Director of Urology Services, served as the Course Director. In addition to his opening remarks, Dr. Lepor introduced each of the speakers and moderated panel discussions among course faculty members.

Dr. Lepor established the context for image-guided, minimally invasive ablative therapies as alternatives to traditional radical prostatectomy and whole-gland radiation. Each speaker brought his or her expertise in a specific area to create a meaningful integrated exploration of advanced MRI, ultrasound, and fusion imaging; targeted biopsy approaches; focal therapy using ablative treatments; and prostate cancer molecular markers used for treatment planning. The formal course presentations were interspersed with panel discussions of actual case scenarios in a “What would you do?” dialogue format.

Dr. Sperling delivered three presentations. His first presentation explained how he conducts real-time MRI-guided targeted prostate biopsies; his image slides provided clear illustrations, and he concluded his remarks with the prediction that this approach will “stay strong and be part of the arsenal of image-guided biopsies.” His second talk covered commercially available 3D co-registration (MRI/ultrasound fusion) technologies that can be used by urologists to incorporate the advantages of MRI into in-office devices for targeted biopsies&emdash;an impossibility using conventional gray scale ultrasound imaging. Finally, Dr. Lepor introduced Dr. Sperling’s talk on focal laser ablation by stating, “I’ve had the pleasure of working very closely with Dr. Sperling, who has the largest experience with focal ablation by laser.” Dr. Lepor emphasized to the urologists in the audience the importance of establishing close collegial relationships with radiologists who are adept at capturing and interpreting multiparametric MRI images of the prostate, and whose interventional skills establish them as authorities.

As if to illustrate the wisdom of that advice, on the second day Dr. Lepor delivered a talk on the clinical trial of focal laser ablation (FLA) being conducted cooperatively by the Sperling Prostate Center and NYU. Referring to Dr. Sperling as “a true master in terms of this technology, with the greatest experience worldwide,” Dr. Lepor explained the design and purpose of this prospective research study, and shared the trend of results they are already observing with this emerging technology.

A factor that distinguishes this annual course is Dr. Lepor’s assembling world experts in various ablative technologies, including cryoablation, HIFU, photodynamics and Dr. Sperling’s focal laser ablation. It is a credit to the passion, discipline, and dedication of Dr. Sperling to be invited to share his pioneering work in the advancement of better clinical technologies for prostate cancer patients.

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