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Home » Childhood Cancer, EU Health, Health

Delivering harmonised paediatric oncology training

Submitted by on 30 Nov 2016 – 17:22

By Professor Riccardo Riccardi, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy

The delivery of high quality care as well as considerable progresses clinical and basic research can only be ensured via a harmonised paediatric oncology training and education programme throughout Europe. This is one of the priorities of the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE), actively involved in several courses to develop the knowledge of health professionals on state-of-the-art therapies and allow them to gain more practical skills in the treatment of paediatric malignancies.

One of these initiatives is the Masterclass in paediatric oncology, in partnership with the EuropeanSchool of Oncology (ESO), a society dedicated to improving the skills of all health professionals dealing with cancer patients. It is a practice-oriented training with a focus on the application of the most recent research findings to clinical practice. At its sixth edition, this educational programme is intended for young paediatric oncologists who wish to improve their practical skills in the clinical management of common childhood tumours.

The Masterclass teaching sessions focus on the application of the most recent research findings in different tumour types (central nervous system tumours, neuroblastoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, bone tumours, Wilms’ tumour, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and rare tumours) into clinical practice.

The 2016 edition of this Masterclass received 61 applications, of which 42 participants were selected from 18 countries.  Particularly attractive for young professionals – the average age of participants was 34 – the course has been “an excellent experience” for Dr. Antonio Juan Ribelles (Spain). “A whole review of all paediatric malignancies was revised in five intense but entertaining days. All the topics were conducted by European specialists in the subject, and the last updates were highlighted in the presentations” continues Dr. Ribelles, who recommends this experience to other junior paediatric oncologists. Course participants had the opportunity to present a clinical case that was commented on by the staff, thus making “the rhythm of the class more fluid and educational.”

Two of the patient cases presented during the Masterclass – a case on adolescent sarcoma from Dr. Luca Bergamaschi and one on refractory metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma on an adolescent at the end of life from Dr. Jessica Morgan – have already been uploaded on the ESO ePatCare platform for educational purposes, and are likely to soon be transformed in interactive ESO-SIOPE e-sessions.

To mark its tenth year of existence, SIOPE is also preparing a brand new educational event. The SIOPE Society Day (27th January 2017, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) will bring together experts from multidisciplinary tumour boards in Europe and national societies, who will share their crucial research advances and lessons learnt in paediatric oncology on the first day of the 2017 European Cancer Congress (ECCO2017). Sessions will also illustrate the most effective approaches at the clinical and research levels.

The second part of the Society Day will consist in a Policy Session – benefitting from the participation of high level representatives of the European Commission  – where the importance of exchange on EU health and research policies and future initiatives of the SIOPE community will be instrumental for the implementation of the SIOPE Strategic Plan ‘A European Cancer Plan for Children and Adolescents’.

Building on the existing cooperation with the adult oncology world, SIOPE is building the most relevant and complete educational programme for its community of childhood cancer professionals.