Testimonials from 2018 Workshop Participants

Previous workshop participants share their experiences

aversa-caterina

“The MCCR Workshop is an outstanding experience and a precious opportunity for young oncologists to learn how to set up a clinical study from the initial idea to the complete protocol. Each day frontal lectures and discussions within small groups provide the participants with the necessary tools to develop their protocol from start to end. The faculty includes medical oncologists, pathologists, biostatisticians and patient advocates who are amongst the major experts in the field worldwide and individual and group discussions with them represent a very valuable learning opportunity. The workshop also allows participants to meet other young oncologists and share ideas and experiences in a very friendly and enthusiastic environment.
The organisation has been exemplary in every detail and very helpful at all times. Overall, I would highly recommend participating the MCCR Workshop to every young oncologist with an interest in clinical research.”

Caterina Aversa
Royal Marsden Hospital, Medical Oncology, London, UK

badawy-ahmed

“The week that I spent in Zeist attending the 20th edition of MCCR Workshop was one of the greatest learning experience in my career in oncology. At the end of the week, I had picked up many important skills in protocol writing. Lectures helped me to understand important steps in protocol preparation include statistical methods, design and selection of appropriate end point. Working in small groups with other colleagues was very beneficial as I received feedback from them on my protocol. This Workshop gave me an opportunity to meet other physicians from around the world with similar background and connect not only on professional but also personal levels. I have formed friendships that I hope will be long-lasting. This Workshop was a perfect mix of topics, people, science and social gathering. I am determined to share this knowledge with junior colleagues and will recommend this Workshop to my colleagues and fellows. I would like to thank the Organising Committee and Staff for this great Workshop.”

Ahmed Badawy
Alexandria University, Lung Cancer, Alexandria, Egypt

baldini-capucine

“Being part of the 20th edition of the Methods in Clinical Cancer Research (MCCR) Workshop as a fellow and as a Society Ambassador was a great privilege and I would like to thank ESMO for selecting me. This workshop was a great experience, sharing with colleagues from all around the world and learning from experts in the field. It gave me precious insights on clinical research and protocol development especially during the lecture sessions. Working in small group sessions was one of the best experiences. Starting with a trial concept and discuss it with the faculty and your “brothers in arms” to end up with a complete protocol was challenging but rewarding. I would like to thank the faculty members from my group for their availability and approachability at any time during day or night! They gave a different approach and perspective that changed not only the protocol but also my vision of trial design (simpler is better). The protocol is now under final review and the study will begin in September. During the meet-the-expert sessions, we had the chance to interact with key opinion leaders from different countries and health systems and learn from their experiences which is one in a lifetime opportunity. Finally, there was a great atmosphere between all the fellows, the faculty and the organizing committee creating a perfect setting for interactions and learning. Meeting all these experts and outstanding fellows committed to improve cancer care for our patients was an enriching and unforgettable experience. I strongly recommend every young cancer researcher to take part in this insightful workshop to improve their knowledge in clinical and translational research. Thanks to ESMO, ECCO, EORTC and AACR that support this workshop, young investigators have a great opportunity to improve themselves and grow more confident for their future career.”

Capucine Baldini
Gustave Roussy, Medical Oncology, Villejuif, France

carretero-gonzalez-alberto

“An optimal background is key to ensure an excellent development in our scientific careers. This Workshop is a well-recognised programme established for providing an optimal training for developing clinical trials. Thanks to this opportunity, scientific quality is supposed to increase; this fact could be crucial for implementing new therapeutic strategies. In addition, there is a social aspect in this course, highlighting the possibilities for networking. During these days, there are opportunities to make contact with other fellows and faculty members in different situations. These facilities help us to establish relationships with other worldwide experts, improving our job options, and to accomplish a desired career. The Workshop also facilitates the quality of international interactions and the increase of potential studies performed. To sum up, this Workshop exemplifies perfectly the phrase: “every effort has its rewards”. Taking into account the hard work carried out in the course, the rewards could be not only great in the present but also key in our future. Totally recommended 100%! Thanks for the experience.”

Alberto Carretero-González
University Hospital 12 de Octubre, Medical Oncology, Madrid, Spain

ilina-olga

“During the planning process and preparing a step-by-step protocol of my own clinical trial I faced a lack of knowledge in this area. I was confused, but my clinical mentor recommended me to apply for the MCCR Workshop. Before the application, I have read many testimonials from the previous happy fellows. Being honest, the MCCR Workshop has by far exceeded my expectations in this regard. This Workshop gives you the necessary tools, knowledge and experience to plan and execute your own clinical trial and to interpret the results of the other trials. However, to benefit from the Workshop every fellow has to work a lot. Only hard mental work, brainstorming and active participation in discussions would definitely upgrade your research skills to the next level. The study plan was brilliantly combined, including lectures, small group discussions and protocol discussions in small groups. A tough schedule with deadlines keeps you in a proper scientific shape. Protocol discussions in small groups were intense and enabled interaction between the group members. During these discussions, every fellow received a valuable feedback from the faculty members regarding the protocol. To say the truth, some fellows including me had to totally change the protocol. Discussions continued outside also the conference rooms, at the coffee break and at lunch. Furthermore, the Workshop venue is the best study environment you could ever imagine – the hotel is located in the beautiful forest not far away from Zeist. No distracting factor from the outside may disturb you. Such location enables full-immersion in the study process and total concentration on the protocol work. Group activities after study hours were also very useful for establishing cooperation and making new friends. It is incredible that such respected and famous statisticians and clinicians from Europe, Canada and USA spend their time, share their ideas with fellows, do all their best to improve their protocols and are always available during the Workshop for further discussions. It was the best opportunity to communicate with experienced scientists from different countries. I do really appreciate participation in this Workshop also for valuable friendships with nice and enthusiastic young oncologists from all over the world. I had no significant previous experience in designing and conducting clinical trial and interpreting the results, but this Workshop gave me a strong theoretical base and a great motivation for further personal growth. During the Workshop, I could ask every faculty member every question I got during the preparation process. All lectures and materials are shared through the fellow's room in internet. I am very grateful to the organisers, Workshop Directors and all Staff members for their contribution in inspiring young oncologists. I will definitely recommend the MCCR Workshop to other colleagues.”

Olga Ilina
Medsi Clinic, Surgical Oncology, Moscow, Russian Federation

lambertini-matteo

“I feel extremely thankful for the opportunity I had to attend the 2018 ECCO-AACR-EORTC-ESMO workshop on Methods in Clinical Cancer Research in Zeist, The Netherlands. In addition, I’m honoured for having being selected as a Society Ambassador for ESMO, the Society that has played a crucial role in my career development. Basic, translational research and clinical trials are essential for the future of high quality cancer care, and a good clinical trial design is the basis for a successful study. As a medical oncologist aiming to become a good clinical researcher, the knowledge on how to design a trial and translate the study concept into a full protocol is essential. Therefore, participating in the MCCR workshop led by internationally leading experts in the field of oncology and cancer research has been a dream for many years. Finally, after having had the chance to participate, I can say without any doubt that this terrific experience will have invaluable reflections on my professional growth. During the 6 days of the workshop, frontal lessons, protocol-development and “meet the expert” sessions allows an in depth immersion in all aspects of clinical trial methodology to make sure that your clinical trial poses the right question and that this is addressed in the correct way in your protocol. In addition, the MCCR workshop is an incredible networking platform. The exchange and discussion with faculty members and young colleagues from different parts of the world has been a unique opportunity to strengthen collaboration and make new contacts for future partnerships in research projects that will hopefully translate in better care for our patients. To all young oncologists that love their work, are hardworking and eager to increase their knowledge on clinical trials and research skills, the participation to the MCCR workshop represents a can’t miss opportunity!”

Matteo Lambertini
Institut Jules Bordet, Medical oncologist mainly focused in breast cancer, Brussels, Belgium

martin-romano-patricia

“First, I would like to thank you ESMO for selecting me as a Society Ambassador for the 20th edition of the Methods in Clinical Cancer Research (MCCR) Workshop. The Workshop has empowered me as a cancer researcher. Starting the Workshop with a simple trial concept and after an intense week of hard work, I had a well-designed protocol ready for regulatory review. My experience at this Workshop helped me enormously to understand the important role of every team member participating in the protocol development. During the MCCR Workshop, I had the opportunity to work closely with different experts. I really have to thank all the faculty members from my group for their availability. Every faculty member gave me an important insight from a completely different perspective and was keen on mentoring. These group sessions encouraged me to appraise a better approach for my protocol proposal. The meet-the-expert sessions gave me the chance to interact with key opinion leaders from different countries and health systems. One of the most rewarding aspects of the Workshop was the field for discussion and interaction between faculty and fellows. I believe the Workshop has been an exceptional educational opportunity that has improved my knowledge about the basis of clinical and translational trial design. Finally, I would like to add that the Workshop has enabled me to meet outstanding faculty and fellows from all over the world, all of them committed to improve cancer care for our patients. I strongly recommend every young oncologist interested in clinical and translational research to apply to insightful Workshop. I really want to thank ESMO, ECCO, EORTC and AACR for supporting such an impactful opportunity for young investigators.”

Patricia Martin Romano
IGR, Medical Oncology, Villejuif, France

matos-ignacio

“The MCCR Workshop is the greatest learning experience I have ever had. It provides a unique opportunity to learn about the design of clinical trials. It gives you the necessary tools to develop your project. All thanks to the extraordinary faculty for providing great lectures and sharing their broad expertise in cancer research with the fellows. They are an example for young researchers with their enthusiastic and critical spirit. It was possible to discuss every aspect of clinical trials methodology: design, biomarkers, rational, as well as statistical aspects. For Fellows, this Workshop is a big opportunity to expand your professional network to other colleagues. Definitely, this is an amazing Workshop in a nice location with stressful moments in front of your laptop while trying to finish the proposal. I want to thank ESMO for its collaboration in making it possible”

Ignacio Matos
Vall d´Hebron, Medical Oncology, Barcelona, Spain

mauti-laetitia

“Participating in the 20th Workshop on Methods in Clinical Cancer Research held in Zeist, the Netherlands from June 16th to 22nd 2018 has been a truly unique experience in many ways. At first, the objective of transforming an idea of a clinical research trial into a fully written protocol in just 6 days seemed impossible to reach. But within hours of settling into the great location of the Woudschoten Conference Center in Zeist and meeting the 40 or so faculty members and 80 fellows, a very special atmosphere of mutual interest and respect, support and empowerment started to build up and within 1 day every participant felt how he/she was gaining momentum in productivity with regards to protocol development as never experienced before. While everything I had heard from my colleagues who had attended the Workshop in previous years was true ("hard work, late nights, stats everywhere and great company culminating in an "own" trial protocol"), the Workshop provided much more than that. Certainly, lively and fruitful discussions of all aspects of the proposed trial in the protocol development groups, great lectures from faculty, helpful "meet the expert" - sessions were guiding us in the development of an interesting, meaningful, ethical and feasible research trial, but it was the enthusiastic spirit of everyone, the feeling of "being in the same boat" and the exchange of thoughts with incredible, passionate fellows that drove us to achieve a the high goal set for this Workshop. And I'm still amazed by all faculty members for dedicating an entire week to the training of young clinical investigators in oncology, for being so supportive, yet critical where needed, and for the sense of a research community they instilled in all of us. I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in this Workshop and to write an entire trial protocol, but above of all, for the most motivating personal encounters. I would like to thank the organisers and supporters as well as all faculty and fellows of the 2018 MCCR Workshop for fantastic week in Zeist.”

Laetitia Mauti
Kantonsspital St. Gallen, Medical Oncology, Gallen, Switzerland

orlando-valentina

“Three words: research, meeting and quality. The Methods on Clinical Cancer Research Workshop was a great experience. It was a 6-days full immersion in a wonderful green-place in Zeist with the objective to write a trial design. It required a hard work to meet deadlines necessary for building the clinical trial protocol day-by-day, but I didn’t feel stressed because every day activity was very interesting and exciting. This activity included fascinating lessons conducted by opinion experts about common themes of methodology in clinical cancer research that revealed their utility during the drawing up of each protocol. The PDG (protocol development group) meeting was a place to make questions and discuss on each research. Faculty team took care of every aspect of our work and they included not only physicians but also a biostatistician and patient’s advocate. I had the possibility to get involved in planning my research and to discuss it with opinion experts from all over the world during the “Meet your expert” session. Beyond research work, it was also an international and young setting with the possibility to compare different realities and to network. Of course, I will recommend this Workshop to all colleagues involved in clinical research!”

Valentina Orlando
Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda, Medical Oncology, Milan, Italy

salawu-abdulazeez.jpg

“The 20th MCCR Workshop was and excellent opportunity for me to develop as an early phase clinical researcher in Oncology. The combination of relevant lectures, in-depth small groups discussions, meet-the -expert sessions and protocol development groups with opportunities for feedback and suggestions from excellent, highly-experienced clinical researchers and biostatisticians were a must-have experience that is exquisitely-suited to the design and execution of not only my current trial protocol, but future research endeavours. In addition to this, there were one-of-a-kind networking opportunities with the internationally-reputable faculty all of whom are leaders of oncological research. They were all extremely approachable, interested in our work, helpful and willing to be provide advice and mentorship relating to the current protocol and a career beyond. We also met colleagues from around the world with similar or complimentary research interest and established potential collaborations. In my opinion, these unique experiences are invaluable for a developing clinical researcher such as myself. I greatly appreciate the efforts of the organisers, faculty and am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it this year. I cannot recommend the course enough.”

Abdulazeez Salawu
Weston Park Hospital, Medical Oncology, Sheffield, United Kingdom

somasundaram-nagavalli.jpg

“Methods in Clinical Cancer Research was an outstanding Workshop. I heard about this Workshop from my senior colleagues who had attended in the prior years and there was a strong recommendation to apply for the Workshop. The Workshop was an excellent platform for learning, collaborating and meeting excellent mentors who are passionate about training fellows to do good research. Throughout the 6 day intensive program, many aspects of doing clinical trials were covered – from translating ideas to clinical trial protocols, designing and planning out trials, statistical considerations, ethical considerations and many more. The Workshop took fellows through a step by step process on designing clinical trials. While covering the broad principles in a lecture based format, the fellows had ample opportunity to get feedback on their protocols within a group and on a one to one basis with a mentor. This formed a great opportunity for the fellows to get their protocols discussed at length and to get feedback from many perspectives – the mentors, the statisticians, other fellows within the group and from patient advocates. Personally, this was a rare opportunity to get such extensive feedback on the protocols and to be guided along the way in improving the protocol. Many of us saw our initial protocols undergo a massive transformation with the guidance from the faculty. One of the main strengths of this Workshop was the extremely dedicated and enthusiastic faculty. It was an amazing opportunity in itself to meet many world-class experts in their respective fields face to face and to have discussions with them. The faculty members were very encouraging, approachable and thought provoking. The statisticians amongst the faculty provided very valuable inputs and feedback on trial designs. Overall, the Workshop had provided an amazing opportunity to learn, grow and develop my protocol. I will strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in clinical trial development.”

Nagavalli Somasundaram
National Cancer Centre, Medical Oncology, Singapore

turkes-fiona

“I feel very grateful that I was so strongly encouraged by my supervisor and peers to apply to the MCCR Workshop after taking up a clinical research post just a few months before. The beginning of the week was possibly the most challenging part as our trial concepts were picked apart and scrutinised in every way imaginable! But the feedback from within our small group of faculty and fellows was very constructive and despite the frequent need to ‘go back to the drawing board’, we each managed to the develop the best possible trial protocols which not only asked the right scientific questions but were also convenient for patients and feasible to carry out within our institutions. The faculty were so inspiring and approachable, it was really quite incredible. It was a huge privilege that they gave us so much time at practicality any time of day! The Workshop was also a great opportunity to meet other fellows from around the world and hear how they manage to prioritise clinical and translational research despite their hugely busy schedules. I really look forward to seeing many of faculty and fellows from the Workshop again at a meeting in the near future and could not recommend this fantastic learning experience highly enough to anyone who is involved in clinical trial design.”

Fiona Turkes
The Royal Marsden Hospital, GI Oncology, London, UK

van-kruchten-michel

“The Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop has definitely exceeded my expectations. It was a great opportunity to meet experts in the fields, and colleagues that share the same interest in clinical research. The lectures were outstanding. It was interesting to see how research protocols changed (sometimes drastically), and got better day by day during the protocol development sessions. The input received at these ‘PDG’ sessions as well as the meet-the-expert sessions was extremely helpful. Above all, the enthusiasm for clinical research that is created by participating in this Workshop has been highly ‘contagious’ and I cannot wait to explore more research opportunities in the future.”

Michel van Kruchten
University Medical Centre Groningen, Medical Oncology, Groningen, the Netherlands