ESMO 2014: Welcome from the Committee Chairs

Johann de Bono

Johann de Bono, ESMO 2014 Scientific Committee Chair

Jean-Yves Douillard

Jean-Yves Douillard, ESMO 2014 Educational Committee Chair

It is now increasingly clear that cancer is a very personal disease that requires an individualised treatment approach. How can we possibly identify and effectively treat this massive collection of diseases – each sub-type with its own individual molecular makeup? For a long time, this seemed an insurmountable challenge to optimal cancer care: although the disease was clearly individual and heterogeneous, treatment was necessarily based largely on statistical collective analyses and results – a “best fit” for a population, but not necessarily for each individual sufferer.

Today, thanks to advances in molecular biology and genomics, this no longer has to be the case. As we gain greater insights into carcinogenesis, we are at the point where genuinely targeted therapy is now possible for an increasing number of cancers. We are also rapidly moving from a ‘site of origin’ based disease classification to a genomics-based taxonomy of these complex and diverse diseases, with revolutionary implications for clinical practice, for research, and for teaching. ESMO is at the forefront of this rapidly changing landscape, a vital point of reference for the oncology profession. This is why you cannot afford to miss the 2014 ESMO Madrid Congress.

The theme for ESMO 2014 is ‘Precision Medicine in Cancer Care.’ Providing optimal treatment for patients according to individual circumstances and the molecular characteristics of their disease is also a key theme for ESMO when developing new conferences, products and services. Whether you are a medical or surgical oncologist, radiotherapist, immunologist or pathologist, practicing precision medicine means we are all working towards a common goal—improved patient outcomes. This is the ultimate goal of ESMO 2014.

ESMO 2014 will offer the chance to share that knowledge in a dynamic, peer-to-peer environment, where new ideas and new collaborations appear spontaneously at every corner. Nothing is better than face-to-face contact amongst professionals.

In Madrid, ESMO will provide a Scientific and Educational Programme that builds on the highly successful models of ESMO 2010 in Milan and ESMO 2012 in Vienna, while extending breadth and depth. You can expect to learn about the latest results in basic, translational, and clinical research, expressing the broader concepts of precision or personalised medicine in specific treatment options.

The personalised paradigm for care demands more than ever a multidisciplinary approach: you can expect practical seminars and wide-ranging debates about how specialities can work together to achieve ever-greater precision in cancer care.

Delivering precision medicine is not just a scientific challenge: you can expect detailed exploration of the practical, political, and financial issues that stand between our ideals and the reality of implementing optimal care for every person suffering from cancer. From the academic lab to the busy clinic, the scientific programme at ESMO 2014 aims to connect all the dots for you.

This also depends, in part, on you: the research abstracts and trials reports that you provide will help ensure that the Scientific and Education Programme is truly a conversation among peers. Your contribution will help to inspire the collaborative discussions that advance our profession – and gain you the recognition that your work deserves.

We look forward to meeting you in Madrid and to exchanging expertise. This is a remarkable time for cancer care – a time when we can all make a difference. We invite you to seize the opportunity.