Interview with SIOP President

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Please introduce yourself and your role in SIOP 2014

I am Giorgio Perilongo, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Padua, Chairman of the local Department of Woman's and Child's Health and presently I have the honour of serving as President of SIOP.

What is unique about SIOP 2014?​

The SIOP Annual Meeting is the only truly international scientific and educational meeting in the area of Pediatric Oncology held in the world. It reflects the intimate international structure of SIOP.  This has always been the case, this is the case for Toronto and this will be the case for future SIOP Annual Meetings. The true international flavour, which permeates the human and scientific atmosphere of SIOP, is, in itself, the ongoing and unique feature of SIOP annual meetings. The colleagues change, the faces change, the clothes, the colours of the people, the events which mark the social programs that reflect the host country is always different, but this is exactly what makes each SIOP meeting distinctive!

If I have to point out something exciting and innovative at the Toronto meeting it would be the "Young Investigator Awards", a prize initiated by the SIOP Scientific Meeting. Ten awards will be given out to the best scientific research submitted by young investigators for SIOP 2014. This is exactly the sort of "fresh air" that we want to infuse into SIOP. Our meeting in Toronto will be the very first time that these "Young Investigator Awards" are presented.

​Which sessions or aspects of the congress are you most excited about?

This is a difficult question indeed. I am  looking forward to hearing the key note lectures from Rod Rassekh on "Pharmacogenetics and pediatric toxicity", and from Imelda Coyne on "Children's rights in ​decision making" and the one…., better stop; I am running the risk of mentioning all the various key note lectures and symposia since they are all so interesting! Indeed the scientific program in Toronto is really quite balanced, encompassing basic and clinical research, and many other aspects related to the research of providing excellent global care to children with cancer and their families in the different part of the world.

Are there any news/breakthroughs/new insights into the field that will be revealed during the congress?

More than 1300 abstracts have been submitted for SIOP 2014. The SIOP Annual meeting will be an important platform where to the most up to date research in paediatric oncology will be presented.

What are the "hot topics"?

The hot topics will be the ones related to "personalized medicine" in pediatric oncology as well as to the new insights into the intimate molecular mechanisms underlying brain tumor development; mainly medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumour, all of which are rapidly changing the daily clinical practice.

Why should your colleagues attend SIOP 2014? 

​Within the field of Paediatric Oncology, further sub-specialities are emerging; the leukemia expert, the Wilms tumor expert, the brain tumour expert, among others and may surprise the ones not working in this specific area.  This trend had already been predicted and in many ways is welcome when you consider the booming amount of knowledge in paediatric oncology. However, during our daily work, we are asked to be paediatric oncologist, capable of a comprehensive view of the problem and of caring for all children with cancer. Furthermore, the knowledge within a single area of paediatric oncology means losing the broader view of the problem and more than anything else the inspiration, which can be generated by knowing what is happening in other fields of paediatric oncology. The SIOP Annual Meeting is the only meeting providing high quality opportunities and a comprehensive view of the latest news in the entire field of childhood cancer within a three day period. Along with all of this, one should come to SIOP to become friends and to start networking with international colleagues. In short, to become part of the worldwide community of paediatric oncology. Only within the big family of SIOP can these major achievements can be accomplished.

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