Vladimir Mouraviev MD PhD joined the Duke Urology research group as a Research Fellow in the Summer of 2005. He began working on Focal Therapy as a potential new treatment for localized prostate cancer that promised to be a paradigm shift away from traditional whole-gland treatment. Little did he know at the time the impact and legacy this will eventually have on targeted treatment of prostate cancer.
Academically, Vladimir was an extremely capable, gifted scientist and clinician. During his 5+-year tenure at Duke, he was the most dedicated and hardest working individual I had known. He published multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts and was capable of directing numerous concurrent projects. His research was very much translational in nature aimed at direct clinical correlation. Dr. Mouraviev’s contributions to the field reveal a keen scientific intellect, a fine analytical quality of mind, perseverance, and robust scientific judgment. His work was creative yet fundamental.
He had a propensity to be able to bring different research groups together in specialties that have historically functioned independent of urology. Most impressive were his many connections within the wider urologic community. He was personal friends with a number of thought leaders in Europe, Canada and the United States.
In February 2008, Dr Mouraviev was instrumental as a program organizer to help establish the First International Workshop on Imaging and Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer hosted by the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center that was a tremendous success. In concept, this was an international investigator meeting that was focused on using new technologies to image prostate cancer within the gland along with focal ablative treatment of those lesions. This meeting set as a precedent the scientific background for focal therapy and imaging of cancerous foci within the prostate, as well as established a working list of future required research. At that time, Dr Mouraviev was a critical player in further developing many of the clinical aspects of focal therapy: (1) defining appropriate patient selection, (2) developing methods of performing repeatable, targeted 3-dimensional prostate biopsy, (3) developing adjunctive therapies to increase cell kill at the marginal zone for prostate cryoablation, (4) testing agents that may serve as “antifreeze” protectants of the neurovascular bundles that must be preserved to avoid impotence as a side-effect, (5) developing novel molecular markers to image prostate cancer foci within the gland, and (6) developing and testing new methods of in-situ glandular ablation. The list of invited faculties at the First Symposium was impressive, largely due to Vladimir’s personal connections and long-standing relationships, and we would not have been able to accomplish the planning and faculty attendance at that first-of-a-kind meeting without the dedication of Dr Mouraviev. We remain indebted to Dr Mouraviev’s pioneering spirit and his organizational ability to establish and found the First International Summit.
On a personal level, for as long as many of us had known Vladimir, he had always been dedicated to his family. He kept in close contact with his friends and numerous urology colleagues over the years. Vladimir was a very warm individual who was able to bring out the camaraderie among our collaborators. Many who met him remarked on his approachability and team spirit. He took ill suddenly in late May 2019 and passed away at Duke Hospital, the same institution he joined only in 2005 as a Research Fellow.
Vladimir, we will remember your lasting contributions and enduring friendship.
The 12th International Symposium on Focal Therapy and Imaging in Prostate and Kidney Cancer is dedicated to the foresight of Dr. Mouraviev.
May his memory, passion and founding efforts in Focal Therapy, endure.
Thomas J Polascik MD
on behalf of the Focal Therapy Society