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Address to OECI Members by the President, Doctor Marco A. Pierotti (Fondazione IRCCS “Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori”, Milano)
It is a privilege to have been appointed President of the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes, the OECI, following in the steps of Prof. Ulrik Ringborg and other outstanding predecessors.
Before accepting the Presidency, I considered at length what might be the right way to approach a prestigious role that cannot be a means to sustain national or even local interests. My mandate will follow three main guidelines: the pursuit of knowledge, the reduction of fragmentation, and the increase of competitiveness, as they are all instrumental in achieving one goal – to find new and better treatments, provide more comprehensive care and improve the patients’ quality of life supported by evidence-based medicine with a holistic approach.
My recent experience at the lead of the European Association for Cancer Research made me realize that an organization like OECI has a far greater possibility to carry out productive actions, as it can contribute to the building of the European Research Area in the field of cancer thus reducing fragmentation and improving European competitiveness. To this aim, it is mandatory to put into action a program that could be of interest to the EU and national funding bodies.
It will not be an easy task to speak with one voice for a Group that, even though well organized, represents so many research and care centers – both large and small – working in a number of different EU countries, many of which have only recently become EU members. Diversity has to be seen as an advantage, and must not represent a cause for discrimination or fragmentation: we cannot accept, nor in any way endorse, the idea of a two-speed Europe. Larger centers may well use the network to become more competitive, but they must take upon themselves the responsibility to find ways to share their expertise with less endowed centers in order to contribute to the provision of equal treatments all over Europe. At present, only a minority of patients are cured in a CCC and our first mandate should be to encourage the production and acceptance of common guidelines recognized as a standard at European level.
Another challenging task will be to promote members’ involvement through a bottom-up approach, by conveying a common message and encouraging their participation in the program of activities of the largest and most important research and clinical network in Europe. OECI is a European Economic Interest Group with an impressive size in terms of bed capacity, treated patients, research and medical staff, and with the majority of cutting-edge clinical trials. This huge potential cannot be turned into reality unless OECI is able to act in synergy with one of the main key players of the health scenario in Europe. The trust, consensus and support of Patients’ Associations, who are the only able to pinpoint and underscore the public’s real needs, must be pursued.
This should be the natural vocation for OECI, the only organization able to gather around a table most of European Cancer Centers’ Directors. The purpose should be not only to exchange ideas, but also to put forward new proposals and rapidly implement them with a coordinated effort which may envisage the creation of a platform for translational cancer research capable of attracting SMEs and big pharmas while also involving national public and private funding entities.
Within this context, achievement and rewarding of excellence should be at the basis of an approach which focuses on continuing education and training of new generations.
This OECI program and feasibility outline for the next three years will be shaped according to the above illustrated concepts. This outline will be produced in collaboration with the Renewed Board and will then be submitted to all Members for feedback in order to reach a final position which should really represent the “OECI-PACT”. This Pact must be fully endorsed in compliance with the EEIG Regulation, our Statute and the full liability of our Members. We will eventually organize its announcement at a specific conference open to the scientific community, representatives of national and European authorities and the press.
I really trust that thanks to this European consensus, OECI will have more visibility and the possibility to meet patients’ expectations, attracting, at the same time, the attention of the funding agencies and the interest of industries.
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Upcoming Events

  • European Forum on Oncology 2010
    Berlin 28th -29th October 2010
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  • International Symposium November 12th 2010, Amsterdam
    “Trends and Developments in Survivorship Care“
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    Announcement
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  • OECI-ESO Course - Biobanking for Cancer Research: Rules and Roles
    Bari 12th -13th November 2010
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  • Excellence in Oncology - Cutting edge findings into clinical practice
    Athens 18th - 20th November 2010
    Conference Web Site

  • 1st European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) – Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI)
    Joint Training Course - “Molecular Pathology Approach to Cancer”
    Amsterdam, March 7th – 9th 2011
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