For many, this word brings an instant smile and a rush of vibrant memories. And yet, summer has still been a busy period for many members of the SIOP community!
Dr. Akira Nakagawa and his team have committed to making this 50th SIOP congress in Kyoto a huge success. The number of registrations for this meeting has already exceeded expectations, and we anticipate a record number of participants. The Scientific program is ready, bar a late braking abstract session due on September 4. Speaking of SIOP – please do not forget to contact Susanne at the SIOP office and send her pictures of previous meetings. We’ll be using these for the 50th Anniversary photo and video booth, and are counting on you to have as much materialas possible!
Meanwhile, later this month, WHO headquarters in Geneva will host “Curable 2030: A Global Initiative in Childhood Cancer”. Key stakeholders from around the world have been invited to discuss initial plans for a 5-year global program that will address key challenges in childhood cancer. Our SIOP representatives will be Dr. Giorgio Perilongo (in his new position as Chair of the Advocacy committee), Julia Challinor and Susanne Wollaert. Additional meetings on collaboration between organisations involved in childhood cancer care will also take place later this year in Kuala Lumpur (at the UICC-WCC meeting) and of course, in Kyoto.
I also want to mention the “global mapping of paediatric oncology services”, which aims to provide an up-to-date map of paediatric oncology services worldwide. A team led by Neil Ranasinghe and Jennifer Geel developed a questionnaire to collect information on the resources available for paediatric oncology in individual countries. These findings will be a goldmine of information, allowing us to identify disparities in access to care, and have more targeted advocacy. The questionnaire will be rolled out in African countries first. Over time, the aim is to expand this survey and update the global mapping at regular intervals. This initiative is supported by a grant from the Sanofi Espoir Foundation.
Something more difficult that I would like to share with you are my phone conversations with paediatric oncologists in Iran. International embargos have had a devastating impact on the care of children with cancer. The lack of essential medicines has become a daily struggle for physicians; and a drop in international donations that fund NGOs like MAHAK (Society to support children suffering from cancer) paints an even bleaker future.
Finally, and to finish this newsletter on a congratulatory note, I would like to warmly welcome our next SIOP president for 2019-2022: Dr. Kathy Pritchard Jones. Kathy and I used to work in the same unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital some twenty years ago, and I am truly delighted with her election. She has a long connection with SIOP, and her knowledge and insight into the SIOP community will be invaluable to our decision-making processes.
On that note, I wish you a wonderful summer and look forward to seeing you all in Kyoto as we mark a very special milestone.
With my best regards,