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2019 Highlights – A look back at SIOP Europe’s year      

Authors: Professor Pamela Kearns, SIOP Europe President

During 2019, SIOP Europe achieved many exciting milestones, as we launched several new activities. I am delighted to share the highlights of this ‘action packed’ year.

1st SIOP Europe Annual Meeting successfully launched in Prague

The first edition of the SIOP Europe Annual Meeting was successfully launched in Prague on 20–24 May. Not only did it surpass expectations in terms of attendance, with 1,489 participants from 65 countries, but it brought together the diversity of expertise in our community including parents, patients, survivors, clinicians and scientists from our European Clinical Trial Groups (ECTG), new working groups and industry, all promoting the best possible care and outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer in Europe. Importantly, the meeting was organised in partnership with the patient advocacy organisation, CCI Europe, working together towards our common aim of increasing the cure rate for cancers affecting children and young people.

Four new Working Groups unveiled at the Annual Meeting

One of the many outcomes of the Annual Meeting in Prague was the official presentation and launch of four new SIOP Europe Working Groups: Young SIOPE, SIOP Europe Radiation Oncology Working Group, SIOP Europe Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Committee and the SIOP Europe Host Genome Working Group.

These Groups bring together leading multi-disciplinary experts in their respective area to share expertise and young trainees, with the aim of developing new initiatives in research and clinical practice and provide opportunities for education. Going forward, our community looks forward to hearing updates on the important activities of these new Groups.

European Election Manifesto presented at the European Parliament

SIOP Europe’s policy agenda for paediatric cancer gathered substantial support, heralded by the launch of our European Election Manifesto. This was presented at an event hosted at the European Parliament on 6 March. The Manifesto details SIOP Europe’s policy priorities for 2019–24 and identifies six key recommendations to the MEPs.

I am pleased to report that 27 current Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have endorsed our Manifesto in addition to 100+ organisations and 1000+ individuals. Together with all our partners, including CCI Europe and PanCare, we are committed to working with the new European legislators to meet the critical challenges that greatly impact children and adolescent cancer patients and survivors’ lives.

A new ambitious agenda for cancer in EU policy

I am also thrilled to share that with the announcement of a Mission area dedicated to cancer under the EU Framework Programme ‘Horizon Europe’, there is now cause for optimism for the future of cancer research in Europe. The incoming President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, highlighted plans for a European plan to fight cancer and dedicated members of the newly constituted European Parliament are ready for further engagement in the fight against the disease.

Our community will continue to promote the importance of including children and young people in this agenda.

Relevant article A European paediatric cancer mission: aspiration or reality? can be directly accessed free of charge from The Lancet Oncology.

The ACCELERATE Paediatric Oncology Conference: a truly international event

The 7th edition of the ACCELERATE Paediatric Oncology Conference was successfully held on 14–15 February in Brussels. Attended by delegates from across the world – including experts from academia, industry, patient/parent/survivor advocacy groups, foundations and regulatory authorities – the diverse and high turnout was a clear sign that this conference is now a truly international event.

These series of annual conferences aim to update stakeholders about clinical and preclinical strategic initiatives that can help accelerate anticancer drug development. Topics included immunotherapy for paediatric malignancies and new proposals to accelerate paediatric oncology drug development. These included approaches to the new regulatory landscape that promote and streamline the pathway to bring innovation into standard cancer care in children and adolescents.

Joint Action on Rare Cancers (JARC) Book is released!

The JARC Book is an important outcome of a three-year collaborative project and contains 10 chapters for policy makers. Each chapter presents targeted policy recommendations on rare cancers. Crucially, each chapter includes a dedicated section on specific priorities in childhood cancers, which are all rare. The JARC Book is now available and request for copies can be made to SIOP Europe.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – Gold September

SIOP Europe strives to raise awareness about childhood cancer all year round and especially in September: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I am very pleased that 31 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 17 countries showed their support to the paediatric cancer cause and the campaign, including by wearing the SIOP Europe Gold Ribbon pin and sharing their photo on Twitter using the hashtags #ChildhoodCancerAwarenessMonth #GoGold.

NEW: Clinical training centres – Paediatric Fellowship Programme

European School of Oncology (ESO) and SIOP Europe have joined forces to offer a Paediatric Fellowship Programme for young paediatric haematologists and oncologists aiming to gain clinical experience at renowned centres across Europe. This Fellowship Programme aims to support the education of young and promising paediatric haematologist or oncologist to develop their careers in cancer care.

I look forward to welcoming our community at some excellent events in 2020:

During the coming year, we will continue to drive forward in all our activities and projects to deliver on the objectives outlined in the SIOP Europe Strategic Plan. Together with the enthusiastic and committed efforts of all our members and the guidance from numerous key influencers in paediatric oncology and haematology, SIOP Europe will continue transforming knowledge into innovative practice until our mission — the cure of all childhood cancers — is accomplished.

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The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe or SIOPE) is the only pan-European organisation representing all professionals working in the field of childhood cancers.

www.siope.eu | Twitter: @SIOPEurope


Support: No funding was received in the publication of this Insight article.

Published: 20 December 2019

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