OECI 2022 ONCOLOGY DAYS AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The OECI 2022 Oncology Days and the OECI General Assembly were held in Valencia (Spain) on June 15–17.
Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) is the biggest European cancer network that includes 121 leading Cancer Centers of EU and neighboring countries.
Annually as part of the work of Oncology Days, scientific conferences determine the vector of development of oncological science and practice. This year sessions had the common slogan — Promoting Innovation and Quality for Patients.
One session was devoted to Accreditation and Designation (A&D) questions aiming at striving for excellence in Comprehensive Cancer Care, research and education. New A&D Chair Prof. Jean-Benoit Burrion (Belgium) was introduced, the situation in the OECI accreditation process was described, where different centers shared their experience in the accreditation process, the difficulties they met and expectations from that. It was marked that a new cancer institute network will be created in Europe and in some countries outside and that’s why we need to make corrections in A&D requirements, involving and educating new auditors. Prof. Tit Albert (Slovenija) presented a trial study of such a system, which will start in September and will last for 24 months. The hybrid session was held with auditors, answering different questions, analyzing the needs of Cancer Centers in this process.
Another session chaired by Prof. Wim van Harten (Netherlands) was devoted to costs and consequences of personalized cancer treatment, where the growing costs of diagnostics and treatment were analyzed urging countries governments to put more money in the budget due to very unequal percentage of gross domestic product in different regions. The same is about different input of socio-economic consequences.
Next day was devoted to Artificial Intelligence as a tool in modern and future oncology. Prof. Antonio Lombart Bosch (Spain), Prof. Alfonso Valencia (Spain) and Prof. Giovanni Apolone (Italy) delivered introductions and key lectures. It was stressed that this new technology is rapidly developing and coming to all areas, including oncology. The new structure — Digital Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (DIGICOR) is created to collect and analyze huge amount of data in these changing situations. There were also presentations on practical use in different categories. For example, using radiological and information data, the surgeon decides on where the lesions are for performing intervention exactly in the tumor site. It reduces the procedures extension and lowers possible side effects and complications. Also was given talk about huge changes in radiation oncology, where human brains together with AI create such precise treatment algorithms, that there is almost zero possibility to make mistakes. Moreover, these are very precise treatment modalities with breathing control, reacting to patients’ any movements.
Another session was devoted to the problems of implementation of molecular technologies for diagnostics and monitoring of oncopathology. The mainstream of the session chaired by Prof. Giorgio Stanta (Italy) was molecular pathology standardization. He outlined that today one of the major problems in oncology diagnostics is that the molecular analyses are not standardized to perform reproducible and exchangeable molecular diagnostic analysis. This is even more pressing because of the continuously increased use of prognostic and predictive biomarkers, directly related to treatment choices and the interpretation of results of diagnostics and clinical research molecular analysis is increasingly complex.
The last day was devoted to the OECI General Assembly.
At the suggestion of OECI President Thierry Philip (France), the right to open the meeting of the General Assembly was granted to Prof. Vasyl Chekhun (Ukraine), who joined on-line. He outlined that in the very center of Europe, Ukraine is defending its independence, territorial integrity and democratic values of the civilized world in heavy fighting. In brief, he characterized the main problems faced by oncology now in Ukraine and the challenges awaiting in the future.
Prof. V. Chekhun stressed that missile, bomb, and artillery attacks with armaments prohibited by the Geneva Conventions are destroying civilian homes, cultural and educational institutions, and medical infrastructure. Particularly dangerous situation concerns the patients’ access to qualified care. Before the war, there were more than one million cancer patients in Ukraine. Military actions, occupation, migration disrupted and significantly complicated the logistics and provision of medical care. The number of international clinical trials, which allowed nearly twenty percent of cancer patients to receive treatment according to the best standards, has decreased. It is clear that violations of the algorithm of diagnostic and treatment protocols significantly worsen the treatment quality and effectiveness. He asked for the maximum assistance in providing medical care to cancer patients who are in temporary emigration in European countries. Prof. V. Chekhun came up with a number of proposals:
1. OECI could be the founder and promoter of the special Trust Fund aimed at material and technical support for reconstruction and restoration of destroyed cancer centers in Ukraine.
2. The Organization could create a special “EuroOncoHub” for Ukraine aimed at effective use of available resources of European countries to restore clinical and laboratory equipment needed to provide medical care for Ukrainian patients.
3. The OECI, together with Ukraine, could launch a special Research Program aimed at identifying risks and preventing cancer, with the involvement of European Commission funds. This will be a sign of shared responsibility for European biosafety.
OECI President-Elect Prof. Giovanni Apolone (Italy), Prof. Antonio Llombart Bosch (Spain) and others took part in the discussion. At the initiative of OECI General Manager Prof. Claudio Lombardo (Belgium-Italy), efforts are being coordinated in support of proposals for deepening cooperation between OECI and Ukraine.
Among other items discussed at the GA were usual OECI aspects (approval of 2021 GA minutes, 2022 and 2023 provisional budgets, Board composition for the future years). The new 12 members with different status were incorporated into OECI. Therefore, now there are 121 Institutional members. Chairs of all OECI Working Groups presented their activities and future vision. Next Oncology Days and GA will take place in Paris (France) in 2023.
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