Today we hosted a multi-stakeholder cancer meeting together with The Embassy of Sweden in Vienna and our co-founder Elekta. On the topic “From breakthrough to follow through in radiotherapy” in the context of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of EU and the ongoing ESTRO Congress.
We were delighted that so many joined us in the dynamic dialogue on the implementation of EU Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Cancer Mission with a special focus on radiotherapy, the too often forgotten critical component of comprehensive cancer care in Europe and across the world.
The meeting featured presentations and interactive discussions on how to capitalize on the momentum in the EU to translate research and innovation to patient benefit, highlighting what needs to be done and how we can collaborate more intensively to accelerate implementation and ensure greater equality and access to innovative radiotherapy to all eligible patients. The role of Comprehensive Cancer Centers, mission-oriented innovation and cancer mission hubs will be key ingredients.
This interactive meeting took place on May 12 at the Embassy of Sweden in Vienna and brought together experts from cancer care, academia, industry, public sector and civil society. It was a follow-up of the cancer conference organized in Stockholm on the 31st of January and we were so happy that Professor Mark Lawler joined us to present the European Groundshot Lancet Oncology Commission report, this time focusing on radiation oncology. The program with all speakers and panellists is published below!
BIOGRAPHY SPEAKERS AND PANELISTS
Professor Mark Lawler
HDR UK Associate Director at Queens University Belfast
Mark is an internationally renowned scientist with over 200 papers including key publications in the highest impact journals. His work has been recognised by numerous national and international awards. He is Associate Director of Health Data Research Wales-Northern Ireland which is driving innovative precision medicine and public health approaches through the use of Big Data. He is Scientific Director of DATA-CAN, the UK’s National Health Data Research Hub for Cancer. Mark has a strong commitment to patient-centred research/care and to addressing cancer inequalities. He was architect of the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights, which he launched in the European Parliament with colleagues on World Cancer Day 2014. The Bill of Rights received The 2018 European Health Award, a prestigious award for partnerships that yield real health impact in Europe. Mark’s work on addressing inequalities and access issues in relation to cancer care formed the centrepiece in the development by the European Cancer Organisation of the European Code of Cancer Practice, which Mark launched (virtually) with EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides in Brussels in September 2020 Mark’s work on Covid-19 and its impact on cancer services and cancer patients has received international attention and he co-chairs the European Cancer Organisation’s (E.C.O) Special Focused Network on Covid-19 and cancer, which launched its 7-Point plan to Build Back Better (and smarter) from Covid. He presented recent data on Covid’s impact on cancer in Europe to the Europe Beating Cancer Committee in the European Parliament and launched E.C.Os pan European Time To Act Campaign to ensure that Covid-19 does not stop us from tackling cancer. This work recently received the prestigious Royal College of Physicians Excellence in Patient Care Award. Mark recently received the Irish Association for Cancer Research’s Outstanding Contribution to cancer research award, for his pioneering work on cancer research and cancer care on the island of Ireland. Mark is Chair of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership, an international collaborative that employs a data- driven approach to improve outcomes for cancer patients.
Prof. Yolande Lievens
Chair of the radiation oncology department, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent University, Belgium
Prof. Yolande is the current chair of the radiation oncology department of the Ghent University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium, and associate professor at the Ghent University. She graduated from the Catholic University in Leuven, where she acquired her degrees in Medicine, Radiation Oncology and Hospital and Health Care Management, and completed her PhD in cost-accounting and economic evaluation of radiotherapy. Her clinical focus lies on radiation therapy for thoracic malignancies, with an additional interest for the role of radiotherapy in hematology, breast cancer and oligometastatic disease. Apart from the clinics, she has always been closely involved in the organizational aspects of radiotherapy, in the position of radiotherapy within multidisciplinary oncology and in the financial and health economic aspects of cancer care. As a natural consequence, global oncology has also become one of her focuses. Finally, she is interested in quality issues in radiation oncology, not only in terms of quality assurance but also regarding the impact of radiation treatments on quality of life and patient-reported outcomes. She has a broad professional and scientific collaboration with national and international organizations, such as the Belgian Knowledge Centre and the Belgian Cancer Registry, the Belgian College for Physicians in Radiation Oncology, the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO), the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Amongst others, she is co-chairing the ESTRO Health Economics in Radiation Oncology (HERO) project and primary investigator of the EORTC/ESTRO E2-RADIATE project. She is former president of ESTRO and of the Belgian College for Physicians in Radiation Oncology. She is one of the experts appointed to co-develop the revised reimbursement system of radiotherapy in Belgium. She is convinced that an optimal combination of clinical, translational and health services research is key to the future of radiation oncology and to advance the outcome of cancer patients, by sustaining.
Ms. Eva Jolly
Chief Coordinating Officer at Karolinska Comprehensive Cancer Centre
Eva Jolly current position is as Chief Coordinating Officer at Karolinska Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Stockholm, Sweden. Eva has a MSc in oncology nursing with long experience of leadership at different levels within cancer care, 2012-2022 she held the position of nurse director for the Radiotherapy department at Karolinska CCC. She is active in different networks both nationally and internationally within the cancer field. She is currently a board member of OECIs (Organisation of European cancer Institutes) accreditation and designation board. Eva is devoted to contributing to the development of cancer care and co-creation with patients, their families and involvement of citizens.
Dr. Edvard Abel
Centre Director, Sahlgrenska Comprehensive Cancer Center
Edvard Abel is a clinical oncologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, with a PhD in radiotherapy and around 20 years of experience working as a radiotherapist. He has been an active member of the national study group of Head and neck cancer in Sweden as well as one of the experts in a recent survey of the conditions of radiotherapy in Sweden. He was the Chief medical officer of radiotherapy in the Western region of Sweden between 2016-2022, before being appointed as the current Centre Director of Sahlgrenska Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Dr. John P Christodouleas
Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Clinical Research at Elekta
Dr. Christodouleas is Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Clinical Research at Elekta, Inc. He is also an active radiation oncologist and an internationally recognized authority on the treatment of prostate and bladder cancer. Christodouleas has written extensively about ways to optimize cancer control and quality of life for patients with cancer and has published primary research, reviews and editorials in a variety of journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer and The International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics. He has authored over 20 book chapters on the care of cancer patients and is co-editor of one of the leading textbooks in radiation oncology, currently in its 3rd edition. Dr. Christodouleas serves as co-primary investigator for the MOMENTUM Study, an international observational cohort study of MR-guided radiation therapy.
Dr. May Abdel-Wahab
Director of the Division of Human Health (NAHU), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
May Abdel-Wahab, MD, PhD is the Director of the Division of Human Health (NAHU) at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria. She has over 30 years of patient care, teaching, and research experience in the field of radiation oncology, specializing in treatment of prostate and gastrointestinal cancers. Her main areas of general focus include healthcare access and training, as well as novel solutions to address disparity and diversity issues. She has served as a member and chair, on various National and International committees, including the United Nations Interagency Task Force Steering committee (UNIATF) on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which coordinates UN-wide activities in NCDs. She is a member of the UN Joint Programme on the Cervical Cancer Control Steering Committee, working at the global and national level with participating countries to support a national comprehensive cervical cancer control programme. She is co-lead author on the Lancet Oncology Commission report on Imaging and Nuclear Medicine, studying cost and access in oncology. She has served as chair of the ASTRO Committee for Healthcare Access & Training and Co-Chair of the Integration of Health Enterprise in Radiation Oncology (IHE-RO) Planning Committee, working on interconnectivity issues at various levels of patient care. Prior to joining IAEA, she was section head of GI Radiation Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic, USA, and Professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine, Case Western University. Her research also focused on prostate and GI cancers as well as quality assurance and safety and access to radiotherapy. She is a fellow of both the American Board of Radiology (ACR) and the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and was featured on the Best Doctors in America listing, among other honors.
Prof. Richard Sullivan
Professor of Cancer and Global Health, King’s College London
Richard Sullivan FRCS PhD FFPM is Professor of Cancer and Global Health at King’s College London and Guy’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre. He is Director, Institute of Cancer Policy & Director, Centre for Conflict & Health Research at King’s. He is an NCD advisor to World Health Organisation, World Bank and various international organisations and governments. His global cancer research programs cover cancer systems strengthening, financing, political economy, global cancer surgery particularly virtual reality-enhanced surgical simulation, as well as studies into social welfare and cancer care in conflict. He also directs several major research programs in conflict and health with a special focus on the Middle East, including Health Security Intelligence, Global Health Security and health systems strengthening in conflict. Professor Sullivan trained in surgical oncology (urology) gaining his PhD in Biochemistry from University College London. He has published over 400 articles, including seventeen Lancet & Lancet Oncology Commissions. Richard was formally Clinical Director of Cancer Research UK and the trans-Atlantic Council for Emerging National Security Affairs.
Ms. Anne Starz
Head of Resource Mobilization, IAEA
Ms. Startz is the Extrabudgetary Resources Coordinator and Section Head for Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation in the Technical Cooperation Department of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Ms Starz has fifteen years of experience in the IAEA leading high performing teams and developing solutions to global challenges using nuclear science and technology. Prior to joining the IAEA, Ms Starz worked in the private sector and the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration on nuclear energy, nuclear security and nonproliferation. Ms Starz has extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy, nuclear policy, organizational performance and change management. Ms Starz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Ms. Birgit Fleurent
Co-Founder, Global Coalition for Radiotherapy (GCR)
Birgit is a global healthcare executive advisor and consultant and a recognized transformational, inspiring healthcare leader with over 35 years of experience across 6 continents. Her expertise includes global strategic, business and marketing leadership, management and execution in the medical device, life science and infectious disease diagnostic industries. She has a recognized ability to bridge private and public sectors so that clinical and scientific data are translated into healthcare provider, policy leader and consumer awareness, adoption and loyalty. Birgit is a member of the leadership team for the Global Coalition for Radiotherapy (GCR) and currently consults for several multinational and non-profit organization clients leading strategic and marketing transformation. As Chief Marketing Officer at Accuray for nearly 7 years, she was an instrumental member of the executive leadership team, with a global team of more than 60 professionals supporting a $400 million radiotherapy business. Prior to Accuray, Birgit worked internationally in both private and public sectors, from small organisations to large multinationals including Haemonetics, Genelabs Diagnostics, the WHO, UNITAID, and DuPont Medical Products. She drives success through motivating people, ensuring diversity, inclusion and employee wellbeing are valued. Birgit is a highly effective communicator fluent in English, German and French, with Swiss and US citizenship.
Dr. Mia Rajalin
Member of the Board, Vision Zero Cancer and Swedish Lung Cancer Association
Mia Rajalin is a lic psychologist, has a PhD in suicidology from University of Umeå, Sweden, and currently holds a position as Director of Studies in Stockholm County Council.
Diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in 2017 she is now advocating for patients with lung cancer. Mia is a member of the board in The Swedish Lung Cancer Association and a project member of the Vision Zero Cancer Innovation milieu, financed by the Swedish Innovation Agency, Vinnova. She is dedicated to find a way to diagnose lung cancer in an early stage for a better prognosis and engaged in informing the public and GP´s about early symptoms and the aspect that the number of never-smokers with the disease is rising. Outside the research field and work hours she is a dedicated hockey mom of two goalies.