Vall d'Hebron University Hospital organised the 2021 SIOPEN annual general meeting. The event was held between 6 and 8 October at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, bringing together one hundred neuroblastoma experts. US and Australian experts also followed the AGM via live stream. SIOPEN is a European association that works to facilitate clinical, translational and basic research on neuroblastomas in children and adolescents, both in Europe and around the world. Dr Lucas Moreno, director of the Paediatric Oncology and Haematology Department at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and principal investigator of the Translational Research in Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Research Group at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), is the vice-president of the association.
“This AGM has been a great opportunity to make improvements to future and ongoing clinical trials and projects, to interact with clinicians and scientists from all across Europe, to collaborate with young researchers and to debate the future strategy of our association”, he explained. Vall d'Hebron, through the VHIR, is carrying out several studies on neuroblastomas and offers the hospital's paediatric patients who suffer from this pathology the opportunity to participate in clinical trials in all phases (1, 2 and 3). Vall d'Hebron University Hospital also has CSUR (Centre, Unit or Department of Reference) accreditation for this disorder. In other words, any paediatric patient in Spain who requires treatment for a neuroblastoma is accredited by the Ministry of Health to receive this treatment at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital.
Dr Moreno has spent his entire career trying to develop drugs for childhood cancer. His main area of research is neuroblastomas, which grow from nerve tissues and are one of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer. They can be found in many parts of the body, but they are most commonly found in the abdomen, close to the spine or in the chest. Neuroblastomas can spread to the bones (face, skull, pelvis, shoulders, arms, legs) and into the bone marrow, liver, lymph nodes, skin and around the eyes.