Message from the President and the Office

MSI took over the presidency of our European society on January 1st and, in this first newsletter of 2016, I would like to pay tribute to Gilles Vassal. His presidency ensured a wide and multidisciplinary endorsement of our long-term vision for the future and, under his leadership, SIOPE established itself as a major stakeholder within the European oncology community. My priority for the years to come is to further structure the contribution of all stakeholders to this Plan and to ensure effective implementation of all its objectives. This is a complex and multifaceted document – whose goals range from more drug development to better survivorship and long term follow up, just to name a few – but I am confident that with the expertise and support of all of us it can become our reference for concrete action in our daily work. Over the past years we often briefed you about the latest developments within ENCCA, the European Network for Cancer research in Children and Adolescents. This important project has successfully ended last December in Brussels. On the occasion of its engaging final General Assembly, we were informed about the considerable progress made in the effective structuring of the European paediatric haemato-oncology research area, as well as in the area of expertise of every project partner. Considering that these past 5 years proved everyone that we can be a strong player in the oncology field – and that the SIOPE Strategic Plan is one of the key deliverables of this project – the end of this initiative will not mark the end of our efforts, but a new, fresh start for us all. Our Society currently counts more than 1,500 members across Europe. The Office is currently coordinating the SIOPE membership renewal for the current year, and we can already report that three new countries (Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia, Malta) showed an interest in joining our community. Considering the number of members in 2012, when we launched the new membership scheme, I am proud to say that we successfully doubled this number in the last three years! As announced during the last SIOPE General Assembly (28th September 2015, Vienna, Austria), we are setting up a SIOPE “intranet” (private space) for the use of our members. Here you can easily find any kind of document or information you might need from our Society (e.g. General Assembly meeting minutes, membership documents, etc.). Soon you will receive the access details required to access this exclusive online space for members’ only (for any difficulty you might encountered to log on to the intranet, please do not hesitate to contact us). Formerly known as ECRC, the SIOPE Clinical Research Council has been revamped in order to become a stronger representative body in the European research area. We are currently in the process of finalising the membership and leadership of this key decision-making body, which represents the point of view of all paediatric haematology-oncology clinical trial groups and national societies. Also at the last SIOPE General Assembly we have presented some recent amendments to the current Statutes, which have been officially approved by the appointed delegates from the national Societies (or your information, please find here a summary of the main modifications to the SIOPE Statutes). I am honoured to welcome two new outstanding members of the SIOPE Board: François Doz (France), expert in several fields including TYA and retinoblastoma, and Lars Hjorth (Sweden), Chair of PanCare and the reference contact in Europe for all that concerns survivorship and long-term follow up issues. I would also like to pay tribute to Henrik Hasle (Denmark), who just ended his term on the Board after several years of dedication. Last but not least, just before Christmas we circulated to you a link to a short survey to assess your needs as members: your opinion is very important for us to better understand what are your current interests, and challenges, in order to better meet your requests in our future activities. This is why we would like to kindly invite you dear members to take 5 minutes of your time to express your views via this online survey.