MErCuRIC members serving the interests of upcoming young talents in oncology – the future of our profession

While the ever-advancing landscape of precision medicine in oncology undoubtedly brings fresh hope for patients, it also poses many yet unanswered questions as to how we move forward, without the real risk of burn-out of those who treat them – particularly with regards to the up-and- coming generation of young oncologists, the future of our profession and practice.

Established in 2001, the Young Oncologists Committee (YOC) of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) focuses on identifying real solutions matched to responding to the needs of more junior colleagues to relieve the burden they face and thus avert the real threat of some of the brightest future talents ultimately exiting from oncology.

Just one of the Committee´s major achievements marked to-date was the European-wide survey on burnout in young oncologists presented during the ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid by YOC member and lead author Susana Banerjee. The survey evidenced that as many as 84% of respondents suffer in central Europe, compared with over 50% in the North. Despite these variations, the best case scenario of half of the respondents clearly represents a major problem. Thanks to the YOC, important steps are thankfully being taken to help reverse this alarming trend.

YOC is currently chaired by Matthias Preusser, Medical University of Vienna (Austria), and mentored by Josep Tabernero, Director of the Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Barcelona (Spain), ESMO President-Elect, and PI of MErCuRIC´s future multicenter phase II study. It both devises and leads important educational and scientific programs aimed at delivering on the requirements of young oncologists in today´s era of precision science and medicine against cancer. YOC´s inspired range of activities and platforms include the Young Oncologists Corner, Journal Club, Preceptorship meetings, and special Young Oncologist sessions at national oncology congresses and ESMO specialty meetings.

Concerning the latter, Guillem Argilés, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Researcher of VHIO´s Gastrointestinal & Endocrine Tumors Group headed by Josep Tabernero, and a MErCuRIC phase II study co-collaborator, recently led an ESMO Session entitled Focus on Young Medical Oncologists during one of the Society´s leading annual oncology meetings: the 18 th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer, 29 June – 02 July, Barcelona, Spain.

Co-chaired by Josep Tabernero, this unique educational opportunity paired a mentorship session with two scientific presentations delivered by young oncologists. More specifically, in mentorship, Eduardo Vilar Sanchez of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (USA), provided participants with expert advice on how best to build a solid CV in the molecular oncology era and achieve a balance between bench and bedside, followed by invaluable pointers from Richard M. Goldberg, the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus (USA), on how best to find a good mentor in GI oncology.

The second half of the session showcased latest research delivered by young oncologists Rodrigo Dienstmann, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Oncology Data Science (ODysSey) Group, and Loredana Vecchione, the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), who presented on the Clinical implications of transcriptional subtyping in mCRC, and Beyond NGS, towards functional prescreening models in therapeutic decisions in cancer, respectively.

“Divided into two parts, Mentorship and Scientific, this special session delivered on the main mission of ESMO´s Young Oncologists Committee by providing opportunity to strengthen young oncologists’ skills, knowledge and expertise, as well as a platform for networking with other medical oncologists and oncology professionals”, observes Guillem who was appointed as a Member of ESMO´s YOC back in January this year.

“Important actions implemented and developed thanks to the enthusiasm and drive of the YOC will undoubtedly continue to provide the necessary support and educational opportunity for ESMO´s younger members. As appointed Mentor of this Committee, I am devoted to guiding and flanking these dedicated efforts”, says Josep Tabernero.

Under the chairmanship of Matthias Preusser, Guillem and co-YOC members are currently finalizing the Young Oncologists (YO) Track at the forthcoming ESMO 2016 Congress, 07 – 11 October 2016, Copenhagen Denmark. Along with the extremely popular and established YO Track opportunities from previous ESMO Congresses including YO Brunch, Masterclass and Mentorship Sessions, the 2016 Vesalius Talk will focus on developing an effective collaboration between basic scientists and oncologists.

To discover more about ESMO, its Young Oncologists Committee, the recently celebrated 18 th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer, well as the forthcoming ESMO 2016 Congress, visit: www.esmo.org.
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Josep Tabernero, Director of the Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), ESMO President-Elect, and PI of MErCuRIC´s future multicenter phase II study

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Guillem Argilés, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Researcher of VHIO´s Gastrointestinal & Endocrine Tumors Group and a MErCuRIC phase II study co-collaborator