30 May 2014

Radiologist Jelle Barentsz Knighted

Radiologist Jelle Barentsz Knighted

Based on international and national recommendations and evaluation letters of top experts, Mayor Mr. Paul Mengde has recently bestowed upon Professor Jelle Barentsz one of the highest Royal Decorations: he became the Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion.

Dr. Barentsz has been Professor of Radiology at the Radboud UMC, Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, since 1998. Dr. Barentsz is a renowned top-researcher with international esteem.

His contribution to imaging prostate cancer and lymph nodes is world famous and unique. With his team he developed new MRI techniques and implemented them in daily care for patients with prostate cancer. By applying his pioneering work to visualize small metastases, he successfully enabled focused image-guided radiotherapy in patients with prostate cancer. Dr. Barentsz is one of the top researchers in the field of prostate cancer and lymph node diagnosis. The quality of his work is exceptional, and the translation of his research into daily care makes him even more extraordinary.

Dr. Barentsz contributes greatly to inventing and validating new imaging techniques, which can be applied in cancer diagnosis. His current and expected expertise is of critical importance in the development of new MRI-techniques.

The three most important contributions of Dr. Barentsz are: the development and rebirth of the lymph node specific iron-nano-MR contrast agent (Combidex), the discovery and implementation of multi-parametric MRI, which led to the maturity of prostate MRI, and finally the development and implementation of the PI-RADS scoring system for the structured interpretation of prostate MRIs.

Beside this Dr. Barentsz is respected because he is an empathetic man, always puts the patient in the middle, and he does not allow any concessions to achieve this goal. His devotion, passion and successes developing improved diagnostic techniques result in a high number of patients from all over the world, who want his advice and imaging. Many national and international physicians visit him, and want to learn his techniques and implement these in their own practice.

Response from Jelle Barentsz:

It is a great honour to get this high decoration, and of course I am very happy. Not only for me and my family, but also for the man with prostate cancer, radiology, our department and our hospital.

This Royal Decoration is an indicator of the societal appreciation for something extraordinary. Therefore, I am very glad that with this Decoration, the value of Radiology – often seen as only a supporting specialism - is recognized as being an essential element for the well-being of prostate cancer patients. Any treatment starts with a good imaging diagnosis, and a good diagnosis results is decreased morbidity and decreased mortality. Also, the optimal use of imaging results in “sustainable care”.

I am glad that with this Decoration, also the patient with prostate cancer gets the recognition of his problem, can help him find his way in the maze of his treatment process, and in this way finds his correct personalized therapy.

I still have a few dreams to come true: to reduce TRUS-biopsies, to enable screening of prostate cancer using PSA + MRA, and global approval for Combidex.

To finish with the words of an English Knight (Sir Winston Churchill): “This is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning!”