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ESMO Opening: Revolution thanks to research in Immuno-Oncology

DSC00048A revolution is going on thanks to all the research that has been carried out in Immuno-Oncology in the last couple of years, said Prof. Alberto Sobrero, the Scientific ESMO Co-Chair, in his opening remarks at the ESMO 2017 in Madrid. »We are presenting the largest program ever, not alone in number but also in quality, over 100 000 patients have been involved in the trials that we are going to lay out over the next days.” 

»I have already told my patients that I may come back with good news for them, since things are happening very quickly, we have sometimes come from incurable to almost curable in a couple of only months.” The sheer number of ongoing trials has also put a lot of pressure on the organising board. Sobrero: »We are confronted with a growing number of late breaking abstracts and to give you an idea about their impact – from the 37 we accepted, 7 made into presidential sessions.” 

These success-stories are coming at the right time, since: »The cancer burden is growing and cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease as the number one killer in twelve european countries,” according to Prof. Solange Peters, ESMO president elect, »but we will present ground breaking and practise-changing research at this congress that will be in the clinic tomorrow. Partly due to the fact that we are not longer treating cancer as organ based, but genomic based”. 

One of the best examples for this new approach might be the dutch DRUP-study (LBA 59), a first of it’s kind, that showed that the execution of a national multi drug and multi-tumor precision oncology trial is feasible, mentioned Prof. Richard Marais, Scientific EACR Co-Chair.” It is up to us to explain that to insurers as well, that something that comes with huge up-front costs, will pan out in the end.” 

»Basic tumour care is a human right,” said Prof. Fortunato Ciardiello, ESMO President, »and we have to make sure that independent research is not endangered due to the lack of funds. Europe needs efficient legal framework and a vision to become the best place for research and innovation, for the ultimate benefit of cancer patients.”

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