The milestones that Spanish Oncology plans to make real in 2023
Óscar Juan Vidal, an oncologist at the Polytechnic Hospital of Valencia, and Mariano Provencio, head of the Oncology Service at the Puerta de Hierro Hospital in Madrid.
One week away from World Cancer Day, Spanish Oncology focuses on the access to molecular diagnostics and in the breakthrough in immunotherapy as two of the “great advances” that there will be in the specialty during this 2023. These are two treatments that will reinforce Spain on the World Oncology map. Oscar Juan Vidalan oncologist at the University and Polytechnic Hospital of Valencia, in a conversation with Medical Writingadvances that this year it will be possible to reach individualized treatment in a general way in the Medical Oncology: “One of the advances will be the access that practically the majority of patients will have to molecular diagnosis, which will allow a more personalized treatment. This is already happening in many tumors, but I think it will generalize to more tumors and more stages.”
Another of the steps forward that the specialty will take this 2023 will have to do with the treatment of neoadjuvant with chemo-immunotherapywhich will be one of the “biggest milestones” in Spanish Oncology in the coming months, specifically in lung cancer, as predicted by this newspaper Mariano Provenciohead of the Oncology Service of the Hospital Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda.
Your hospital, exactly the Oncology Service that you run, received this week the QOPI certification (Quality Oncology Practice Initiative) by the ECO Foundation and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (DISGUST, for its acronym in English). This distinction endows the Majadahonda Iron Bridge with the recognition of excellence when it comes to caring for cancer patients. That is, a prize value health care that this Madrid hospital offers its cancer patients.
The Majadahonda Iron Bridge thus joins the list of Spanish hospitals that already contain this distinction, since Spain now has thirteen hospital centers that can prove their care excellence in cancer patients. A fact that shows one of the strengths of the National Health System (SNS), since Spain is the country that stores the most QOPI distinctions after the United States and Brazil.
However, Provencio, who is also the president of the Spanish Lung Cancer Group (GECP), stresses the importance that other advances in Oncology will have this year: “There are different studies underway that will also give people talk, such as the Immunotherapy combinations with other drugs. We also increasingly have meaningful data from small populations of patients with KRAS mutations”. A “new illusion” for patients, which will make this 2023 a hopeful year.
On the other hand, professionals in the specialty trust in the consolidation of immunotherapy and the appearance of new drugs with which “healing will truly be achieved”, as stated by Vidal. Advances in which new technologies and above all the artificial intelligence will have an important role. The oncologist from the Polytechnic of Valencia affirms that the latter will be a “very powerful weapon” for the diagnosis and prognosis of patients.
Medical technology has only just arrived
More and more multidisciplinary and innovative teams are landing in Spanish health centers. Whether public or private, health is constantly evolving to adapt the technological advances on a day-to-day clinical basis. Not surprisingly, it is a technology that is being incorporated “a little late”, as Óscar Juan Vidal admits. He highlights how “fundamental” it is for Medicine in general and for Oncology in particular, stressing the role played by artificial intelligence: “It can provide us with weapons to make a better diagnosissuch as in tumor diagnosis, but also for the prognosis and for the treatment of patients”.
On the other hand, although these advances help medical practice to take steps forward, Provencio puts the importance of clinical research, since it argues that artificial intelligence is a tool that can contribute to “unravel” some of the lesser-known or less intuitive relationships. “Per se,” he adds, artificial intelligence is “one more tool”.
Spanish Oncology, leading in Europe
recently the oncologist andres cervantes has won the Presidency of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO, for its acronym in English). A fact that highlights the importance of the Spanish health professional in international bodies. It is one of the samples that reflects the daily life of Spanish Oncology. “It is not surprising that there are Spanish oncologists invited to give talks at the most important forums of world oncology. Is quite frequent that there are Spanish oncologists giving educational talks also in top-level forums such as ASCO, ESMO, etc.”, claims Provencio. A sweet situation that shows for the health professional that the Spanish oncology is “in the lead” of the European
Vidal, for his part, emphasizes clinical practice, stating that Spain is in a “very good position” in the specialty. “Practically we can offer patients the latest advances”, praises the doctor from the Polytechnic of Valencia. A situation that places Spanish Oncology in the European and world radar. Also to their professionals. Some researchers and health workers “very reputed and respected” across the globe.
European Plan for the Fight Against Cancer
Spain plays an important role in the European Plan for the Fight Against Cancer. It is one of the twelve EU countries that participates in the initiative of the European Commission (EC) whose purpose is to investigate cancer. The project begins this month of January and will last four years, with the aim of “develop and test solutions based on artificial intelligence for different types of cancer and clinical scenarios.
However, despite this role of Spain, from the oncology sector They ask for “strong support” to independent clinical research. “The total budget for this is about 12 million euros. A ridiculousness at European levelwhich makes us limit all development that we have in Spanish Oncology”, criticizes the head of the Oncology Service at Puerta de Hierro.
The same opinion is shared by his partner Vidal, who is committed to “enhance” research in Spain, emphasizing that today, the means dedicated to the cause are “scarce.” A situation that, if it is not reversed, Óscar Juan Vidal believes that Spanish researchers will go to other countries. “Having great potential, we have minimal support from governments,” Provencio settles.
Another aspect to improve for the oncologist of the University and Polytechnic Hospital of Valencia is the implementation of a “national network” for diagnosis and treatmentespecially for rare tumors that are treated in specialized centers.
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