Over the weekend, the Spine Tumor Academy brought together leading global spine tumor experts across disciplines for the first time. At the first faculty meeting, the Academy named its Steering Board and launched eight groundbreaking research projects. An interim review will be conducted in August 2022.
On December 3 to December 5, 2021, the first faculty meeting of the Spine Tumor Academy – an international and interdisciplinary network of experts in the therapy of spine tumors – took place in St. Gallen. Opinion leaders from Germany, the USA, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, and Austria met at the Einstein Congress in St. Gallen, Switzerland, with additional participants connected online from the USA and elsewhere in Europe. At its working meeting, the Spine Tumor Academy appointed four European and four American Steering Board Members.
Overarching Excellence for Therapeutic Advances
“Gathering so many specialists from the fields of spine surgery, radiotherapy, and oncology was challenging but groundbreaking, and absolutely unique in the world so far,” says the President of the Spine Tumor Academy, Professor Bernhard Meyer, himself a neurosurgeon at the Technical University of Munich. The high level of engagement at the first workshop confirmed the need to bring together the critical medical disciplines on both sides of the Atlantic to advance research for the benefit of patients.
The experts had already discussed in advance where more studies were needed to improve the therapy and thus the life expectancy and quality of life of cancer patients. At the workshop in St. Gallen, the physicians formed research project groups and discussed actual study plans.
Eight International Research Studies Launched
The Spine Tumor Academy studies have three thrusts: In which patients and how can metastases to the spine be controlled over time and treated as a chronic disease, with resulting increased longevity? Which therapies promise improvements in this regard, especially with multiple myeloma, i.e. bone marrow cancer? Which therapies are making progress with regard to rare primary spine tumors? Faculty members approved eight research studies, in which European as well as US surgeons, radiation therapists, and oncologists will organize themselves and collaborate across disciplines. The first patients are planned to be included in studies as early as 2022.
Academy Platform with Independent Research
“In the future, we will meet annually,” says Academy President Meyer, “since exchange within and between the projects is crucial.” The next faculty meeting is scheduled to take place in St. Gallen at the end of August 2022, with an interim review of the projects and the first scientific publications.
Swiss medtech company icotec ag from Altstätten (SG) is sponsoring the Spine Tumor Academy platform. icotec ag is the market leader for fiber-reinforced implants for spinal tumors. The Academy’s research is industry-independent.
Spine Tumor Academy – Steering Board
- M.D. Mark H. Bilsky, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY, United States
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Stephanie E. Combs, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Germany
- M.D. PhD Michael Fehlings, University Health Network – TWH, Toronto, ON, Canada
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Meyer, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Germany
- M.D., M.P.H. Kristin J. Redmond, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD, United States
- M.D. Laurence D. Rhines, MD Anderson, Houston, TX, United States
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Florian Ringel, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
- Prof. Dr. med. Peter Vajkoczy, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
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