2021 Masterclass Series – Materials Available and Thank you
Our 2021 Masterclass has come to an end. Thank you to all those who attended and spoke – we would have so liked to have met live and have been together in Barcelona in June. But as we all know this option was close to impossible and we converted our annual three-day-get-together to five online Masterclass sessions again this year. Despite the limitations of online meetings, we really appreciated every moment together!
For your ease of reference, below a short summary of each session and links to the materials.
Session 1 – Oesophageal and Gastric Cancers
In April 2021, we held our first Masterclass session focused on oesophageal and gastric cancers. Although these two cancers have important differences, in particular in terms of risk factors and prevention strategies, they have some common themes; they are usually diagnosed late, and their treatments negatively impact patients’ quality of life, mental health and nutrition. During the virtual session, we had four experts who covered different aspects of these two cancers, spanning from prevention by Prof Mărcis Leja, to treatment from Dr Lizzy Smith, to hereditary gastric cancer types by Dr Carla Oliveira, and the patient perspective given by Dr Daksha Trivedi. The Masterclass theme coincided with that of OeCAM, our first-ever oesophageal cancer awareness campaign in April and the launch of The European Oesophageal and Gastric Cancer Roadmap.
Session 2 – Communication Workshop – Patient Outreach
Our second Masterclass took place in May and was focused on helping our Member Organisations build their capacity. We discussed the growth and development of patient organisations, it started with a patient panel on why patients join patient organisations, then went on to look into the lessons learned from the national patient outreach campaign that ran as a pilot in March, then explored the use of social media for effective patient outreach and concluded with insights into funding possibilities.
Patient outreach tools from this workshop can be found on the Member Zone.
Session 3 – Update in Science
In July, just after the end of the ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer we held our annual Masterclass session Update in Science. DiCE’s Medical Director, Prof Eric Van Cutsem, presented a summary of the current and future directions in the field of digestive cancers. Prof Julien Calderaro explained how artificial intelligence can drive cancer diagnosis, providing specific examples on liver cancer. During the Masterclass session, Dr Giovanni Tonon, lead researcher of the project Single-cell Cancer Evolution in the Clinic, presented the project’s overview and updates. This is an international research study funded by an Accelerator Award granted by Cancer Research UK that DiCE is part of.
Prof Amanda McCann talked about an innovative project that she initiated in 2016, The Patient Voice in Cancer Research (PVCR). Rooted in Ireland, the project tries to bridge the gap between basic and clinical research and patient involvement throughout all phases of the patient journey.
Session 4 – Liver Cancer: No Patient Left Behind
October is dedicated to liver cancer and during this month we launched our #LiverCancerAwarenessMonth Campaign for the first time. In line with this our fourth Masterclass session in October was dedicated to liver cancer. This session was organised and delivered in collaboration with the European Patients’ Liver Association (ELPA).
Together, we invited two experts in the field of liver cancer research: Prof Bruno Sangro, President of the International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA) discussed the current state of liver cancer research and biomarker development; Prof Maria Buti, Chair of the EASL (European Association for the Study of the Liver) Policy and Public Health Committee, talked about liver cancer prevention.
The event included imminent figures from the policy world, including John F. Ryan, who presented the European Commission’s Beating Cancer Plan and emphasised the role preventive measures can play in reducing the risk for liver cancer; Dr Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, who spoke of the European Parliament’s commitment in supporting the fight against liver cancer and patients across Europe; and Prof Mojca Matičič who presented the position of the Slovenia Presidency on liver cancer prevention and treatment. The event was finalised with the launch of the White Paper on Liver Cancer – No Patient Left Behind, presented by Prof Eric Van Cutsem, DiCE’s Medical Director. Watch the full video of the event.
Session 5 – Insights into Pancreatic Cancer
The last Masterclass of the year was held early in November and was dedicated to pancreatic cancer. This type of digestive cancer is particularly challenging. Lack of early signs and symptoms hinder its early diagnosis, while its treatment remains difficult. However, a lot is happening in pancreatic cancer basic and clinical research. Prof Alberto Sobrero, GI oncologist, spoke about the challenges in pancreatic cancer treatment and care. Prof Núria Malats shared insights into research efforts in identifying biomarkers that may assist in earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Dr Ben Westphalen looked into the importance of clinical trials for patients with pancreatic cancer. Ms Patrycja Rzadkowska generously shared her personal story about being diagnosed and living with pancreatic cancer.
And what lies ahead? We are currently making plans for next year and hope we can meet in person at the annual ESMO-GI meeting in Barcelona. We will keep you posted and updated through our Member Zone and monthly newsletter or contact us for any specific questions you may have.