Last 1st April 2015 Prof Gilles Vassal, President of SIOPE, attended the round table ‘Les défis de la recherche en oncologie pédiatrique’ (‘the challenges of research in paediatric oncology’) organised by the Foundation Kriibskrank Kanner from Luxembourg.
Since 25 years, Fondatioun Kriibskrank Kanner helps children and adolescents affected by childhood cancer, as well as their families, by providing administrative, financial, and psychosocial support throughout the treatment period and remission. It operates at different levels through multidisciplinary teams, and it also offers families three welcoming infrastructures in Brussels, Strassen, and the Belgian coast.
To achieve its mission, this Foundation promotes partnerships between healthcare professionals, funding institutions and grassroots organisations. This year, it strategically decided to invest part of its financial sources to support medical and scientific research on childhood cancers, e.g. by collaborating on the implementation of the Luxembourg National Cancer Plan. After this decision, Fondatioun Kriibskrank Kanner in 2015 also decided to join SIOPE via our institutional membership scheme, as there is no national paediatric haemato-oncology society in Luxembourg yet (see article on SIOPE membership in this newsletter).
Divided in two parts – one addressing healthcare professionals only and the second part directed to patients and parent advocates, using tailored terminology – the aim of this meeting was to raise awareness on the urgent need to improve the availability and quality of paediatric cancer treatments and medicines, as paediatric oncology research is lagging behind the spectacular improvements currently achieved in adult oncology. SIOPE President Prof Vassal was invited to intervene in this important meeting and, through his presentation, he managed to investigate synergies for common research efforts in paediatric cancer drug development, explain the current SIOPE Strategic Plan and strengthen the partnership with Luxembourgish actors at the national level. This meeting is just another illustration of the strong partnership existing between SIOPE and national stakeholders, in order to effectively address all aspects linked to the research and care of children and adolescents with cancers.