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About Sickkids
About SickKids

July 5, 2012

Conference activity at Garron Centre

Members of the Garron Family Cancer Centre have had a busy spring, playing key roles in two international childhood cancer meetings held in Toronto, and starting planning for a large meeting in 2014.

The 2012 Advances in Neuroblastoma Research (ANR) meeting took place June 18-21 at the Royal York Hotel and was chaired by Sylvain Baruchel, Director of the New Agent and Innovative Therapy Program in Haematology/Oncology.

The following week saw the 2012 International Society of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO) meeting at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, hosted by Dr. Eric Bouffet, Director of the Brain Tumour Program in Haematology/Oncology.

With the upcoming 2014 International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) meeting in Toronto, also to be hosted by Bouffet, SickKids has earned itself a “hat trick,” said Dr. Jim Whitlock, Division Head of Oncology/ Haematology.  “This is a great opportunity for us to show off our city, our hospital, and above all the remarkable talent we have in the fields of neuroblastoma and childhood brain tumours.”

The ANR is an international conference held every two years. This year’s 600 registrants included physicians, scientists, trainees and nurses from 33 countries as well as participants for a first-ever parents symposium. Baruchel worked with a local organizing committee that included Meredith Irwin, David Kaplan, Denise Mills and Shelley Anderson from SickKids.

“The event allowed participants from all disciplines to share and network,” said Baruchel. “We received 460 abstracts allowing three workhops and 120 oral communications over the four-and-a-half day conference.  Dr. Audrey Evans, who started this conference in 1975, said in her closing note that ANR Toronto was one of the best ANRs ever organized.”

In view of the 2012 ANR success the international steering committee decided to establish a scientific  ANRA – Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association.

The ISPNO is also a biennial event.  At the four-day symposium, nearly 1,000 participants from 59 different countries discussed new surgical treatments, innovative research and advances in paediatric neuro-oncology.  

The focus of the event was on paediatric brain tumours, said Bouffet. In 19 different sessions, participants learned about specific aspects of the management of central nervous system in childhood (such as surgery, radiation oncology or new drug development), updates on tumour types, long-term side effects and quality of life.

The organizing committee assisting Bouffet included Ute Bartels, David Eisenstat, Cynthia Hawkins, Annie Huang, Laura Janzen, Don Mabbott, Katrin Scheinemann and Uri Tabori.

The 2014 annual meeting of SIOP is expected to attract 2,500 registrants, who will receive a comprehensive update on paediatric oncology in general, with individual sessions on tumour types. The meeting also focuses on the care of children in low-income countries, and the conference provides an opportunity to discuss ways of how to close the survival gap between high-income and low-income countries.