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Report from the 2012 SIOPE General Assembly

The 2012 Annual General Assembly of SIOPE took place on the 44th SIOP Congress in London. This occasion marked the 5th anniversary of SIOPE and the Presidency hand-over after three very successful years from Prof. Ruth Ladenstein (CCRI, Austria) to Prof. Gilles Vassal (IGR, France). SIOPE has grown into a widely recognised and well-established organisation capable of influencing EU policy-making in relevant areas of health and research policy. However, after 5 years, the necessary step forward for the Society’s growth and representativeness was to acquire direct access to the paediatric oncology community at national level. SIOPE reached out to the entire European paediatric oncology community through the National Paediatric Haemato-Oncology Societies/groups (NaPHOS). Therefore, SIOPE Statute was amended during the General Assembly and 3 new categories of SIOPE membership (full, honorary and associate) were created.

SIOPE activities in 2012: among the multiple activities of  SIOPE, the event organised on the occasion of the 2012 International Childhood Cancer Day at the European Parliament was an extraordinary success, which greatly contributed to improve SIOPE’s position in the European health stakeholders’ arena. Hosted by the Irish MEP G. Willmott, this event was repeated on 20th February 2013, when several international paediatric experts discussed the new EU Clinical Trials Regulation.  SIOPE’s involvement in important EU projects like ENCCA, PanCareSurFup and EPAAC, the creation of the European Clinical Research Council for paediatric oncology (ECRC) and joining forces with relevant advocacy organisations had substantial positive impact on our impressive performance in influencing the EU policy agenda. Finally, SIOPE and ENCCA contributed to the organisation and promotion of several education and training initiatives, such as the annual Flim Workshop.

Strategy for the future: SIOPE aims to improve the treatment and care of children and adolescents with cancer in Europe by establishing connections with the field of adult oncology, as well as with advocates in the field of rare cancers and teenagers and young adults (TYA). SIOPE will also strive to incorporate parent and patient groups as important stakeholders in paediatric oncology, and to incentivise the implementation of standards for care for young people with cancer all over Europe. Finally, Prof. Vassal made clear that the sustainability of the results from the ENCCA project is a priority for the coming years.

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