The European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) is the leading non-governmental organization of medical oncology in Europe, promoting a multidisciplinary approach with regard to the treatment of cancer. With about 23.000 members scattered in more than 131 countries, the ESMO has been a benchmark scientific society for the education and knowledge dissemination in oncology for more tan 40 years.
The Spanish contribution to the development of ESMO has become more and more significant in the past decades. The appointment of Dr. Hernán Cortés-Funes – head of the department of medical oncology in the hospital of #HCMarbella as first Spanish president of ESMO in 1990- 1991, opened this new perspective full of promises. “The goal was to meet and to gather medical oncologists all across Europe in a same scientific environment. Despite national characteristics, we believed that looking for the cure of cancer would be achieved more efficiently together. My wish regarding the future of ESMO is that the annual congress would be a place of birth for new collaborations and for innovations, on top of knowledge dissemination”, says Dr. Cortés-Funes. Under his presidency, the society launched the Fellowship programme, enabling young medical oncologists to develop their skills related to translational and clinical research, as well as clinical practice. In parallel, the first issue of Annals of Oncology, an international reference journal in oncology, was published.
Later on, another giant in the world of cancer, Dr. José Baselga, medical director of the Memorial Sloan Kettering and professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, became the next Spanish president of ESMO in 2008-2009. At that time, Dr. José Baselga fought hard for the recognition of medical oncology as a full specialty in Europe, following the example of Spain. In his opinion, medical oncologists would be key stakeholders in the treatment of cancer, working closely with primary and palliative care physicians, as well as surgeons and radiotherapists.
“My dream has been that everyone would perform an annual blood sample in order to identify his current mutations, so that cancer diagnoses would be made at early stages. It would be as an annual medical check-up for cancer”, stated recently this international leader in translational and clinical research. He pioneered the concept of “precision medicine” when he got involved in the development of major targeted therapies for breast cancer, such as trastuzumab, pertuzumab and everolimus. Last month, the ESMO honoured him with the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award for his indisputable contribution to drug development in breast cancer. This award was presented in Madrid, during the opening session of the #ESMO17 congress.
During this event, national leading researchers reported their main study findings. Practice-changing studies presented at ESMO 2017 include: PACIFIC, new standard of care for locally advanced, unresectable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or COMBI-AD, new adjuvant treatment option for high-risk melanoma.
Dr. Josep Tabernero, Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology and Head of Department of Medical Oncology at the Teaching Hospital Vall d’Hebron of Barcelone, is expected to become the next ESMO president (2018-2019). He is an international expert in digestive tumors and molecular therapies. His team develops scientific animal models based on patient tumor xenografts, to improve the accuracy of his research focusing on biomarkers and tumor resistance mechanisms. “The challenge of the XXIst century is to carry on with large programmes of innovations in the treatment of cancer, still being sustainable in the long-term”, said Dr. Tabernero during #ESMO17. “Whatever we do as researchers is centered on the patients, this is why innovations should be affordable for all. If we keep our research activity focused on cancer patients, we would be able to make our care centers become true research centers, while keeping an easy access for cancer patients to innovations”.
September 12, 2017
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