The 6th edition of our FAST conference on research took place on Saturday, February 16th, in the Senate in Paris.

This annual meeting, which aims to bring together the main players in pediatric oncology research – doctors, researchers, drug manufacturers, institutions, parliamentarians, politicians, parents’ and patients’ associations, research foundations – was an opportunity to discuss recent advances in this area, the fruit of strong actions in 2018 and the commitment to go even further in 2019.

“I attended all the conferences [FAST]. We are at a turning point this year, we can feel it.” Pr. Jacqueline Godet, President of the League against Cancer

 

Indeed, this year, the FAST conference showed how solid actions allows concrete progress: real progress in terms of funding, regulation and research were made in 2018. The various calls for action that were made at the 2018 seminar have all made progress and allowed for us to arrive at a real turning point.

 

SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE SINCE THE LAST CONFERENCE:

1. Promising regulatory progress made in 2018

To accelerate early access to innovative drug trials:
An accelerated procedure “Fast Track” dedicated to innovative drugs at the ANSM and a review of the lottery of the CPP (Committees for the Protection of People)

To improve the management of pediatric cancers:
Bill proposal by Nathalie Elimas, voted unanimously in the National Assembly in November 18 and in the Senate in February 19. 

 

2. An additional € 5m of funds granted by the Ministry of Research in late 2018 to support basic research:

The Minister for Research, Frédérique Vidal, announced during the conference (by video message) three concrete measures discussed with the associations that will be led by the INCa in 2019:

  • A mapping of the state of pediatric oncology research will be done to identify the “seeds of future knowledge”;
  • A series of interdisciplinary seminars will be organised to allow scientists from very different worlds to meet and discuss how their tools and disciplines can contribute to the issue of pediatric oncology.
  • Invitations will be made to “young researchers” to train a dozen French researchers and attract foreign researchers, thus promoting international exchanges.



3. Research is advancing into ultra-personalised treatments, such as Car-T Cell and immunotherapy that allow new remissions in certain cancers (leukemias, lymphomas) and its starting to be tested in solid tumors. However, there is still considerable progress to be made to understand why immunotherapy is not as effective as in adults and to find new therapeutic targets.

“While there was only one Car-T cell center in France a year ago, there are 3 centers open today for clinical trials and laboratories are expanding to  ensure there is at least one center per inter-region.” Professor André Baruchel, Head of Pediatric Hematology-Immunology, Robert Debré

 

4. The GRAVIR and IMPACT collectives, whose creation was announced at the 2018 seminar, presented their operations, their objectives and their fields of action. These two unpublished groups bring together very different and complementary research actors: parents’ and patients’ associations, doctors, researchers, research foundations and drug manufacturers. Their creation is a great step forward that will allow us to work together better and to use different areas of expertise to accelerate research.

 

THE MAJOR CHALLENGES FOR ACCELERATING ARE NOW:

 

  1. The collaboration of researchers with key figures in artificial intelligenceto analyse patients’ tumour data to better understand pediatric cancers and to further and better cure children and young people.

 

“Our goal is to create partnerships with research institutes to bring our expertise in Artificial Intelligence without ever holding patient data” Matahi Moarii, Owkin Company

 

“The real challenge is that we generate phenomenal amounts of information and data on a daily basis that we are not able to exploit. The vision and ambition is to use this data to answer questions that cannot be answered otherwise.” Pr Gilles Vassal, Director of Clinical Research, Gustave Roussy

 

2. The implementation of a global and common strategy of private and public research funding so that researchers do not waste valuable time looking for funds to finance their programs. This issue will be the subject of a future working group.

“The majority of projects are underfunded. If the funding is pooled it could be an an extremely interesting piste to pursue.” Pr André Baruchel, Head of Pediatric Hematology-Immunology, Robert Debré

 

“I am delighted that these aspects of funding poolingare emerging to get to  a critical mass of funding that will allow progress.” Dr. Olivier Delattre, Director of the SIREDO Oncology Center, Curie Institute

 

“We want to go even further, have a common strategy, so that we can find new ideas for funding research and everyone can participate.”  Patricia Blanc, President of Imagine for Margo

 

The Minister of Solidarities and Health, Agnès Buzyn, has renewed her support, by video message, for the actions that we carry out:

“As Minister of Solidarities and Health, I feel fully implicated and fully committed to you”

 

200 participants were present during this fruitful day of exchanges. The diversity of stakeholders and roundtable participants allowed for very constructive discussions.

Policies: Agnès Buzyn, Minister of Solidarities and Health (by video) and Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (by video)

Parliamentarians: Catherine Deroche, Senator of Maine et Loire, President of the Cancer Group in the Senate; Nathalie Elimas, member of the Val d’Oise and co-chair of the cancer study group at the National Assembly; Marta de Cidrac, Senator of Yvelines; Michel Lauzzana, Member of Parliament for Lot-et-Garonne and co-chair of the cancer study group at the National Assembly (by video)

Institutional: Norbert Ifrah (President of INCa) and Pr Christine Chomienne (INCa), Elodie Chapel and Lotfi Boudali (ANSM); David Simhon (President of the IDF Protection Committee);

Researchers and doctors: Pr Gilles Vassal, Dr. Dominique Valteau-Couanet, Dr. Pablo Berlanga Charriel and Syvain Besle (Gustave Roussy); Professor Virginie Gandemer (SFCE); Professor André Baruchel (Robert Debré); Dr. Olivier Delattre (Institut Curie)

Industrialists: Laure Lechertier (BMS Foundation), Thomas Borel (LEEM)

Private Sector: Matahi Moari (OWKIN)

Other associations and Foundations: Francois Dupré (ARC Foundation); Jacqueline Godet (Pte of the League against Cancer); Muriel Hattab (President of the Princess Margot Association); Frédéric Brochard (Hubert Gouin); Anne Goeres (DG Kriibskrank Kanner Foundation)

Parents of sick children: Lise Marzouk, author of “Si” published by Gallimard, mother of a little boy in remission

 

“Advances in pediatric oncology are a priority for all of us and we want results as quickly as possible.” Frederic Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation

 

“We must increase our efforts to find treatments for incurable (pediatric) cancers; and we must also improve the quality of life for children who are recovering” Agnès Buzyn, Minister of Health and Solidarity

 

“Liberty, equality, fraternity … Yes, let us fight again so that all our children have the FREEDOM to grow up. Let us always remain active so that our children benefit from EQUAL TREATMENT. Let’s cooperate more and more so that FRATERNITY and national solidarity are more and more efficient. “

“This symposium has become a key event in this domaine. Indespensable and necessary because giving into the disease is inconceivable, as is he loss of a child. It’s not something that should happen. “

Marta de Cidrac, Senator of Yvelines, member of the cancer study group in the Senate

 

“We are in a complete paradigm shift: the tremendous progress ahead of us will be made pathology by pathology. There needs to be dedicated research to each pediatric cancer.” Olivier Delattre, Director of the SIREDO Oncology Center, Institut Curie

 

“FAST Symposium because we want it: MOVE FORWARD FASTER, do not waste time on research, and quickly heal and improve the health of more children and adolescents with cancer » Patricia Blanc, President of Imagine for Margo

 

“We are clearly moving faster” Gilles Vassal, Director of Clinical Research at Gustave Roussy, President of ITCC

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