Dear Colleagues and friends,

It is a great honour for me to have taken up the role of SIOP President, working with a very dedicated and passionate Board of Directors.

On behalf of all our members, I would like to thank Eric Bouffet for the tremendous job he has done in leading our society for the past three years and to thank all the other Board members and the chairs and members of our committees and working groups.  Together, they have taken our society to a new level of involvement and responsibility in the global challenge to improve cancer services and outcomes for children and young people worldwide.

It was wonderful to see so many of you at our 51st annual congress in Lyon. There was a record attendance, with over 2,700 people coming together to benefit from a wide-ranging programme and networking opportunities.  Thank you to Christophe Bergeron and his local organising committee for making this such a success.

Now it is time to look to 2020 and the next decade.  As announced at our Annual Business Meeting in Lyon, the Board of Directors, that includes all the Continental Presidents and PODC co-chairs, is undertaking a strategic review of our Society’s goals and objectives, in the context of revised Vision and Mission statements and to ensure these align with our capabilities and resources.  All members are invited to contribute to this process.  Further information is available on the website.

It is over one year since the World Health Organisation announced the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer.  Eight countries have been selected as the first ‘focus’ countries. SIOP, as a society and through our wider membership, has been active in the national stakeholder workshops held to date. These are jointly organised by the ministry of health and WHO with implementation partners to define and agree the required work programme and responsibilities. Through the experience of our PODC committee members in twinning programmes and publishing adapted treatment regimens, SIOP is contributing valuable tools for this implementation work (find out more).

The support of St Jude has been instrumental in providing resources to launch the WHO initiative.  With up to 25 countries to be selected by 2021, there is much work to be done. The Global Mapping survey of paediatric oncology services, led by SIOP members and supported by My Child Matters/Sanofi Espoir and with expert help from Neil Ranasinghe, a parent representative, aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of national infrastructure and workforce in all countries worldwide. The survey has been completed in Africa and is underway in South America with plans for Asia to follow. These are important baseline data for advocacy and planning. Reports at a continental and national level will be available.  St Jude and SIOP are in discussion to formalise how our respective strengths can synergise to accelerate progress in improving care and survival rates.

One of SIOP’s founding principles was to provide a global network of ‘friendship’ for peer support, education, training and research. The continuing success of our annual congress and the increasing visibility and expanding reach of the Young Investigator network suggest we are meeting our members’ needs.  However, there is never room for complacency and our Society is committed to being an active listener. Thank you to all our members who completed our recent membership survey. The results of this are now being considered as part of our strategic review.

As we approach the end of 2019, it is never too early to start thinking about presenting your research at next year’s SIOP congress, to be held in Ottawa, Canada, 14-17 October 2020. The abstract deadline will be in April.  If you can’t attend, and even if you plan to, please do also support your relevant Continental meeting.  Our society should be greater than the sum of its parts, and increasing the visibility of successful childhood cancer treatment in all corners of the world will help us achieve our ultimate vision, that “No child should die of cancer – cure for more and care for all”.

I wish you all success with your plans for 2020, both personal and professional, and trust that you will find some time for relaxation over the holiday period.

Seasons Greetings.

Prof. Kathy Pritchard – Jones

SIOP President