Radiology pays tribute to cancer imaging expert Daniel Vanel

By Philip Ward, AuntMinnieEurope.com staff writer

June 30, 2021 -- Tributes are flowing in for the renowned musculoskeletal radiologist Prof. Daniel Vanel, who died on 17 June after a long battle against cancer. Outside of radiology, he was widely admired as a talented magician and golfer and a specialist in Italian Renaissance art.

During his long and distinguished career, Vanel was the chair of radiology at the Institut Gustave Roussy (IGR) in Villejuif, France, and chief of research and teaching for imaging of musculoskeletal tumors at the Rizzoli Institute, Bologna, Italy. He was also past president of both the European Society of Musculoskeletal Radiology and the International Cancer Imaging Society, as well as a gold medalist of the International Skeletal Society.

Friends and colleagues will remember Daniel Vanel for his warm and genuine smile
Friends and colleagues says they'll remember Daniel Vanel for his warm personality and engaging smile. All photos courtesy of Dr. Robert Lavayssière.

"To be concise, as he always was himself, he was the leading French-speaking specialist in bone and soft tissue tumor imaging, the best known abroad, one of the best in the field," wrote Prof. Jean Denis Laredo in an article posted on 28 June by the French Society of Radiology (SFR).

Vanel was born in Paris on 30 April 1948. He produced many high-quality scientific papers, and he successfully introduced the world-famous Bone Club from New York to Paris and the IGR and organized a spectacular gala evening at the Louvre for the International Skeletal Society that everybody still remembers, Laredo said.

"Daniel's talents were not only manifested in the field of musculoskeletal tumors and breast imaging, but were also expressed in all those areas where his insatiable curiosity led him, from bone pathology to all expressions of beauty and art," he continued.

"Daniel was also gifted with a dazzling wit, and he went straight to the point, always expressing himself with elegance and sobriety. Daniel was a magician, a true magician but also a teaching magician, expressing himself in a way that was as simple as it was illuminating."

International outlook

Vanel was an eminent physician and an outstanding teacher, and his very international career was as exemplary as it was fascinating, Dr. Robert Lavayssière, former CEO at Centre d'Imagerie Paris-Nord in Sarcelles, noted in a personal tribute sent to AuntMinnieEurope.com.

Vanel was also a talented golfer
Vanel loved the outdoor life and was a talented golfer.

"His warm but rigorous attention remains etched in my memory. His open-mindedness and lack of bias allowed him to explore multiple areas and navigate without mental barriers," Lavayssière wrote. "His great culture resulted from his knowledge of religion and history, and this enlightened his reading and the discourse in his passion for drawing, Italian or not, where he could converse on an equal footing with a curator or an expert from a large auction house."

"His passion for golf is well-known. ... Daniel did not neglect earthly foods and his legendary appetite was accompanied by detailed gastronomic knowledge, sometimes used in a radiological 'quiz'!" he remarked.

Outside of radiology

Vanel's sphere of influence also extended beyond radiology. For instance, at the latest congress of the European Society of Veterinary Oncology (ESVONC), Vanel co-presented with his daughter Dr. Maia Vanel a lecture called "Osteosarcoma. From Imaging to Therapy, and from Therapy to Imaging. Is it different between humans and dogs?"

Vanel's relationship to the veterinary medicine profession via Maia, a veterinary radiologist, made him passionate about our field and comparative radiology too, wrote Jérôme Benoit, President of the ESVONC, in a personal tribute to Vanel.

"Maia kindly shared with me yesterday that Prof. Vanel's commitment to participating in our Congress helped him immensely through the course of his disease until his last days," Benoit said. "His courage, generosity, and sense of duty made him able to be with us all, a few days ago, to share his knowledge, to answer questions, to interact with the other speakers, and to continue to inspire us during the question-and-answer session."

Vanel with his wife, Catherine Vanel-Zins, also a radiologist
Vanel with his wife, Catherine Vanel-Zins, also a radiologist.

Daniel Vanel has enriched our lives, and we will remember him, Lavayssière pledged.

"Above all, we must think about his wife, Catherine, and their fusional relationship which makes a couple admirable and exceptional," he concluded.


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