4th St. Petersburg International Oncology Forum White Nights 2018: Highlights
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4th St. Petersburg International Oncology Forum White Nights 2018: Highlights

The 4th St. Petersburg International Oncology Forum White Nights 2018 was held from 5 to 8 July 2018 and brought together professionals from 43 countries - from Russia and countries in Europe, Asia and Americas. The Forum mobilized 4,000 oncologists and other physicians, administrators in healthcare and scientists, representatives of patient organizations and charities.

The program of the 4th St. Petersburg International Oncology Forum White Nights 2018 covered a wide spectrum of current issues. For four days – from 5 to 8 July 2018 the thirteen auditoriums of the Park Inn by Radisson Pribaltiyskaya saw 800 presentations spread in 63 tracks, lively discussions, conferences, satellite symposiums, seminars and master classes. In addition, the Forum hosted 48 exhibiting organization - pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufactures and specialized medical publications.

Continuing the tradition, the Forum was prefaced by a two-day course entitled ‘Multimodal imaging of mammary glands’ which included workshops and attracted 110 participants.

The Forum drew 4,157 attendees from all over the world, including Korea and China. More than 300 participants joined the sessions of the Forum virtually. A total of 768 speakers, including 142 international speakers, presented at the Forum. The Forum was supported by the Ministry of Health of Russia and was accredited as part of continuing medical education.

The main program of the Forum was multidisciplinary. It covered such global key issues as modern challenges of cancer care, organization of work of cancer services, prevention and screening of cancer, financial challenges of a cancer screening facility under compulsory health insurance system, digital health, procedures for organizing clinical trials and pharmacoeconomics.

The Forum also tackled such niche issues as diagnosis and treatment of different types of cancers, techniques and methods used for diagnosis and treatment of different types of cancers, rehabilitation of cancer patients and palliative care.

The prestigious attendees of the Forum included Mr Michel Sadelain, a leading expert in CAR-T cell therapy and Director of the Center for Cell Engineering of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Dr Elisabete Weiderpass, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and an expert in epidemiology and cancer prevention.

Some topics were included in the program for the first time in the Forum’s history, some were covered more extensively in 2018 than in the previous years.

For the first time the Forum featured a session on break-through cell and gene therapy in oncology and hematology. The participants engaged in lively discussions on gene editing and CAR-T cell therapy. Mr Michel Sadelain and Ms Isabelle Riviere, both leading experts in CAR-T cell therapy, presented their lectures on this topic. A panel discussion was held to focus on manufacture of products for gene and cell therapy and regulations in the field of gene and cell therapy, which attracted both Russian and international professionals, including delegates from the Ministry of Health of Russia.

The participants of the Forum expressed special interest in such issues as prevention and screening of cancer, organization of cancer care in Russia and modern challenges of cancer care.

Dr Elisabete Weiderpass, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer gave recommendations on design of national strategies of cancer control and Mr Hao Xishan, President of Tianjin Medical University, shared the Chinese practices of fight against cancer.

Mr Andrei D. Kaprin, Director of the National Medical Research Radiological Centre in Moscow and Mr Alexey M. Belyaev, Director of the N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center of Oncology in Saint Petersburg talked about the progress of the development of the national cancer strategy.

Oncological epidemiologists from Russia, Belarus, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan discussed the issues relating to criteria for creation and quality control of national population-based cancer registries.

A close attention was paid to such themes as detection and treatment of gastric cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer – sessions on these topic featured heavily at the Forum for almost all four days of its duration.

The sessions on these cancers attracted such world-renowned professionals as Professor Takeshi Sano and Professor Takahiro Kinoshita, two leading experts in gastric surgery from Japan; Mr Denis Querleu, President of the European Society of Gyneacological Oncology, and a group of the Society’s delegates; Mr Wolfgang Eiermann, an innovator in the field of targeted therapy of breast cancer and intraoperative radiation therapy of breast cancer; and Mr Philip Portmans, President-elect of the European Cancer Organization.

For the second time the Forum offered Live Surgery master classes which featured surgeries steamed live from operating rooms in 2D and 3D format.

Surgical oncologists could follow live laparoscopic gynecologic oncology surgeries, laparoscopic gastric surgeries, thoracic surgeries, surgeries after neoadjuvant chemotherapy of the mammary glands, and ground-breaking surgeries of tumors of the head and neck.

The Live Surgery master classes were first featured at the session addressing the treatment of tumors of the head and neck – surgeries from the operating rooms of the N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center of Oncology and other medical facilities were live streamed at the session.

The Endoskill – the first Russia’s center for professional advancement of oncology surgeons (a project launched by the N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center of Oncology) – demonstrated the potential for improving the manual skills of surgeons by performing surgeries on biological models (pigs).

For the first time the Forum offered a session dedicated to out-patient cancer care, where professionals shared their experience of providing out-patient cancer care to patients with pre-malignant conditions and malignant neoplasms.

The theme of cardiovascular oncology was featured for the very first time at the 2018 Forum. The sessions dedicated to this theme addressed the issues of cardiotoxicity of antineoplastic therapy.

A special attention was paid to childhood cancers and cancers in older and elderly populations.

The session ‘Pediatric oncology’ addressed the issue of cancer care of children as well as the differences of childhood cancers from cancers in adults.

The session ‘Accompanying therapy and supportive therapy of older and elderly patients’ tackled the differences in treatment of geriatric patients, including those with socially significant diseases.

The program of the Forum focused on basic and applied sciences.

A special session was dedicated to ‘Circulating nano-sized vesicles: their role in pathogenesis of cancers and possible use in oncology’.

The session ‘Evolutionary oncology and virology’ spanned two days.

The session ‘Light desynchronosis, aging and cancer’ tackled the issues of carcinogens.
Both world-renowned scientists and young researchers had the chance to present their research papers and results of their clinical experience.

Young researchers could also take part in a psycho-oncology session. The Petrov Readings, a scientific conference, were held that year in the format of a young scientists’ school. A dedicated conference was held to acknowledge the works of young scientists who had won the young scientist awards.

The session on rehabilitation of cancer patients included a panel discussion on the role of patient organizations in the rehabilitation of cancer patients and cancer patient support programs run by patient organizations.

Those who were not able to attend the Forum 2018 could watch the video recordings of all the sessions which were available at http://forum-onco.ru.

‘The Forum traditionally brings together the best professionals across the healthcare, since most cancers can only be treated by an interdisciplinary team of specialists. This year the Forum enabled its participants not only to share their experiences and best practices, and exchange cutting-edge technology innovations, but also to put their heads together to develop the national anti-cancer program’, said Alexei M. Belyaev, Director of the N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center of Oncology, stressing the importance of the Forum.

The organizers – the N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center of Oncology and the Association of Oncologists of the North-Western Federal District – would like to thank all the participants of the Forum and look forward to seeing you at the next 5th St. Petersburg International Oncology Forum White Nights 2019 which will take place from 20 to 23 June 2019.

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