Wednesday 17 February

In the morning…

Starting at 8:30 a.m. in front of an already packed room, the lecture funded by the European Society for Therapeutic Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) gave the floor to Eric Deutsch, from the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus Grand Paris. During his 30 minute talk, Deutsch gave an overview of the new concepts that impact the understanding of the basic mechanics of oncology, leading to a new perception of the biological response to radiotherapy. Nowadays, direct radiation-induced cell kill of tumor clonogens has to be integrated within the concept of microenvironment: this concept implies the consideration of several cellular compartments, which are shown to contribute to both tumor response and the generation of normal tissue damage. These findings have paved the way for an emerging new generation of combined clinical trials that, we hope, will be presented at the next edition of the ICTR-PHE conference!

Eric Deutsch receives the ESTRO award from Yolanda Lievens, ESTRO 35 SPC chair. (Picture: Salvatore Fiore)

After this very interesting talk, Ugo Amaldi and Norman Coleman came on stage to chair this morning’s plenary session. They welcomed Philippe Lambin, from the University Medical Centre of Maastricht, who described how distributed learning can be the solution for rapid learning health care. Lambin described “rapid learning” as the use of data routinely generated through patient care and clinical research to feed an ever-growing database. Thanks to this database, Lambin hopes to be able to develop mathematical models – following the example of weather models – capable of “predicting the future”. Indeed, as Klaus Maier-Hein showed yesterday, simulation models really are a promising way to greatly improve cancer treatment and research. But to achieve that, computing scientists need huge amounts of data – data they are eager to collect all over the world through the Euregional Computer Assisted Theragnostics project (EuroCAT).