European Cancer Organisation
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September 2012

4th President’s Page of Cornelis van de Velde, September 2012

 

ECCO - the European CanCer Organisation promotes interaction between all organisations involved in cancer research, education, treatment and care at European level. We do this because we passionately believe that the best possible outcomes for both patients and oncology professionals, now and into the future, call for a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach. Multidisciplinarity helps to ensure that all cancer patients get timely access to expert advice, treatment and care from oncology professionals with the most relevant specialist knowledge and skills. It also provides continuity of care, including provision of adequate information and support for patients.

Achieving this requires determination and the creation of a real connection between all oncology stakeholders. That is why ECCO has recently reaffirmed commitment to further facilitating interaction with and between all our Members, and the wider oncocommunity. We have created a strong vision for the future, providing a clear pathway to follow over the coming years.

As agreed by the ECCO Board of Directors, in September 2012.

ECCO’ Vision: Striving for multidisciplinarity by integrating the expertise and insights of the different professions and stakeholders that constitute the oncology community to achieve the best possible patient outcomes – taking into consideration the trends that impact on cancer, the complexity of the disease, and the specificity of each cancer patient.

I am sure you will agree that this is a powerful and compelling vision of what we at ECCO want to achieve, together with our members. We have also revised our mission and added a clear objective, to ensure continuity between the present and the future, and to establish a clear roadmap for all our efforts. This underlines our commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for every cancer patient in Europe and beyond.

Mission: ECCO’s role

  • To transcend the various interests in the oncology community network
  • To act as a coherent, impartial, inclusive and collaborative force at its centre
  • Proactively promoting and facilitating multidisciplinarity

ECCO’s Objective: To create an environment in which the oncology community network is always optimised for each patient.

This platform will help ECCO continue its efforts to build foundations for a united voice in oncology, working in harmony with our Board of Directors, our Members and the wider oncocommunity.

 
The future of personalised medicine

The significance of personalised cancer medicine is undeniable. Many oncology professionals believe that it will become integral to everyday clinical practice within the next five to ten years, with the potential of changing the entire landscape of oncology.

ECCO is the only multidisciplinary and multi-professional organisation that connects and responds to all stakeholders in oncology Europe-wide. That is why ECCO provides a Forum for exchange between scientists and policymakers as well as other key stakeholders through its oncopolicy efforts.

Personalised medicine helps decode the genetic material of a patient’s tumour to determine its weak point, maximising the effect of treatment while minimising its side effects, and so the development of individualised therapies has implications for all disciplines involved in cancer detection, diagnosis, treatment and care.

We can also see that the implications for the individual patient are vast - the optimal treatment of their cancer based on their full individual profile including genetic information. This would allow treatment and care to be precisely tailored to their specific needs.

But personalised medicine is not so clear cut. There are many questions to be answered before it can become part of everyday practice. That is why ECCO’s Oncopolicy Forum 2012 is focusing on the Future of Personalised Cancer Medicine. This Forum is providing a much-demanded opportunity for both the oncology and policy communities to work together. Many hurdles must be overcome to enable the rapid development and implementation of personalised medicine. What exactly is the state-of-the-art? How can provision of better training for healthcare professionals be ensured in the application of personalised medicine? What is the standard of care for such an individualised approach? What will be the reality of personalised medicine for individual patients in Europe?

The Oncopolicy Forum 2012 will help all stakeholders (healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers, patient advocates, nurses, etc.) discuss and debate the major challenges of this approach, helping the oncocommunity to fully grasp the immense implications involved at research, treatment, care and cure level.
As President of ECCO, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to diagnostics and personalised treatment according to tumour stage and location in the quest for a cure. The development of ‘personalised prevention’, where genetic dispositions towards particular cancer diseases can be both anticipated and prevented is a ‘gold standard’ for oncology.  But how can harmonised methods and common standards best be established for areas such as for tissue collection and the management of biobanks? What about the collection and analysis of data from clinical trials?

The Forum will enable the oncocommunity to develop a common understanding of what lies ahead and how to move forward. This is essential if we are to adequately anticipate the structural and human changes related to personalised medicine, and provide the best guidance as a professional body to policy-makers in their quest to improve the standard of European healthcare.

The answers that will be developed at the Oncopolicy Forum in our quest to make personalised medicine a reality will help shape the EU political landscape and identify strategies to ensure Europe leads the way in the fight against cancer.

This year’s Oncopolicy Forum,an initiative of ECCO, the European CanCer Organisation, is being held on 11 October at the Bibliothèque Solvay, in Brussels, Belgium

 
Cornelis van de Velde
ECCO President

 

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