Young radiation oncologists present research at EORTC ROG meeting

The EORTC Radiation Oncology Group (ROG) held its autumn meeting at Institut Gustave Roussy, and this occasion gave the ROG’s Young Radiation Oncologists Group (YROG) an opportunity to meet for the third time. The YROG, a recently formed ROG working party active since 2013, aims to engage early career radiation oncologists in research projects conducted by the ROG and thereby foster the next generation of radiation oncologists dedicated to cancer clinical research.

The scientific agenda included presentations by early career radiation oncologists on topics such as Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for breast cancer, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) for hepatic cellular carcinoma, dosimetric aspects of two irradiation techniques for benign brain tumors, and more. These YROG presentations stimulated discussions and underscored the benefit of having early career radiation oncologists join the ROG and participate in its meeting. Furthermore, since the topics presented during this session will eventually form the framework of future clinical trials launched in Europe within the EORTC network, it was encouraging that these YROG members were able to participate in their development.

The ROG meeting also offered an opportunity for YROG to enhance interactions with other young national societies such as the French Society of Young Radiation Oncologists (SFjRO), and a unique joint session moderated by Thomas Leroy, SFjRO Secretary, and Orit Kaidar – Person, YROG Chair, extended the opportunity for SFjRO members join and participate in the YROG and ROG activities. The YROG sessions are a platform for early career radiation oncologists to present research proposals, local studies and innovative ideas, and to be noticed in the European arena. Joining the ROG activities allows these radiation oncologists to work side by side with world leaders in oncology and to take part in planning and conducting a wide variety of clinical trials within the EORTC.

The idea for forming collaborations among other European young national societies with the YROG has the support of the European SocieTy for Radiotherapy & Oncology (ESTRO), thanks to the assistance of Prof. Philip Poortmans, ESTRO President, and Prof. Umberto Ricardi, Chair of ESTRO’s National Society Committee. Certainly, the many early career radiation oncologists in attendance benefitted not only from the early career oncologists sessions, but also exceptional lectures from leading researchers in the field of oncology including Jean-Luc Perfettini and Alexander Eggermont from Institut Gustave Roussy, a lecture about angiogenesis and radiotherapy by Dai Fukumura of the Harvard University Medical School in Boston; and Prof. Satoshi Ishikura of the Japanese Radiation Oncology Group.

Prof. Eric Deutsch, and Dr. Sofia Rivera, both from the Institut Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus, hosted the autumn EORTC ROG meeting. Dr. Rivera is also Chair of STAR, Synergy of Targeted Agents and Radiotherapy, an innovative working party of the ROG. STAR is concerned with overcoming various issues in radiotherapy, e.g. dose escalation and physical-technical features which might limit treatment efficacy, by incorporating targeted therapy with radiotherapy to be tested in the preclinical setting.

On another note, ROG Chair Prof. Philippe Maingon gave a farewell speech and passed the baton to Prof. Wilfried Budach of the Universitätsklinik Düsseldorf, who will assume the position of ROG Chair in Spring 2015. During his tenure, Prof. Maingon was responsible for many beneficial changes within the ROG, such as the initiation of the new working parties, e.g. STAR and YROG. The ROG members wish good luck and success to both the current and future ROG Chairs.

Upcoming ROG meetings are planned for 12 -13 March 2015 during EGAM at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels, and 8 -10 October 2015 in Las Palmas, Canaries.

John Bean, PhD
EORTC, Medical Science Writer

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