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EVENTS: ECC2015 gives a broad perspective with something for everyone

There will be something for everybody at this year’s European Cancer Congress, ranging from basic and translational cancer research through to the very latest results from phase III clinical trials.

In this article, the scientific co-chairs of the meeting, Peter Naredi and Elisabeth de Vries, give us a preview of some of the themes, tracks or sessions that they are particularly excited about. These include the integrated sessions and the tracks on immunotherapy, young oncologists, and clinical trial design and regulatory affairs.

“Most exciting for me is that this is a true multidisciplinary European congress,” says Peter, who is Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. “All disciplines will find that there is an excellent programme for them. It’s not a congress for just one, two or three disciplines, but for many different professions.”

Elisabeth, who is head of the Department of Medical Oncology at the University Medical Centre Groningen, The Netherlands, agrees. “For anyone involved in cancer care, this is a really nice meeting because it gives you this extremely broad perspective; there are experts from everywhere and from all different backgrounds. There are some new tracks and there will be presentations and interactions in your own field of interest.

“As medical oncologists, we often feel like a spider in the patient’s web. We are often a key part of the whole treatment, so it’s really terrific that, at this meeting, you have this broad perspective. In addition, there will be a lot of new data presented, much of which will be especially interesting for medical oncologists as there are so many changes in treatment occurring at the moment, for example, with the immunotherapies that are becoming available.”

As co-chairs, Peter and Elisabeth had several different things in mind as they constructed the programme, together with the chairs of the individual tracks. Key requirements were top quality science, a good balance between ages, countries and gender and a focus on integration.



“Integration means that we have discussed what are the most interesting topics and how do we make them attractive to people from more than just one or two disciplines,” says Peter. So, not only are there special integrated sessions that focus on all aspects of a particular subject such as “Immunotherapy in NSCLC 2015” with talks covering immunogenics, vaccination strategies, check point inhibitors and biomarkers, but also the philosophy of integration runs through all the other sessions too. In these sessions there will be something of interest for everyone from laboratory scientists to nurses, pharmacologists, radiotherapists and clinicians.

“It’s a reflection of our daily cancer care, because cancer care in Europe is becoming multidisciplinary in diagnostics, in decision-making and also in treatments, and this is reflected in the programme for this, the largest European cancer congress,” he says.



Immunotherapy is a theme that will be running through several different sessions as well as having its own track. “We think this will be important in the congress,” says Elisabeth. She highlights the talk in the opening session on Saturday on “Immunotherapy, past, present and future,” by Caroline Robert, from the Institut Gustave-Roussy.

“She has been doing impressive work in the field of melanoma and she has had really incredible papers coming out over the last months. I know she is an entertaining, enthusiastic and gifted speaker, so I’m looking forward to her presentation,” she says.

Peter expects to see interesting presentations on immunotherapy not only in melanoma, but also in lung cancer and gastrointestinal cancers.


Young oncologists

For young oncologists in Europe this is a “must attend” conference. “Young oncologists are a real presence in the congress as a whole. Not only do they have their own track but we expect to see them as presenters elsewhere,” says Elisabeth. Sessions that will be particularly useful include mentoring, avoiding burnout and cancer training and career planning, and opportunities for young oncologists in Europe. “The idea behind this is that people like to get experience in other countries, and they like exchanges, but they need help with how they should organise it, with whom should they be touch and what to expect,” she says.

The track also provides a deeper understanding of the science and the broader aspects of cancer care with sessions on, for example, cancer genetics and how to break significant news.


Clinical trial design and regulatory affairs

There are several interesting issues addressed in this track; for example: “How to pay for new ‘innovative’ anti-cancer drugs?”, “Hospital pharmacists’ contribution to clinical research”, “Oncology pharmacy aspects of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC)”, “Therapeutic drug monitoring in cancer”, “Quality of reporting of clinical trials” and “Global impact of the EU paediatric regulation across all ages”. This last session includes a talk on the “Unintended consequences of regulatory initiatives in childhood and adult cancer drug development”.

“If you feel that we are living in a changing world, where drugs are really expensive and we get more and more good ones, the population is aging, the number of cancer patients is increasing, and you’re interested in how we are going to deal with that in the future, then this track will be very interesting,” says Elisabeth.


Why you should attend ECC2015

“The reason for you to attend ECC2015 is that you will widen your understanding and knowledge in a way that you can’t by reading or going to a smaller meeting,” says Peter. “The integration of thoughts and ideas is an important reason why you should attend, and it’s a big difference from some of the large conferences globally that are more traditional; latest data may be presented at these other conferences, but the information is not integrated in the way that is unique to the multidisciplinary European Cancer Congress.”

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