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01/12/2023

Vall d'Hebron organizes the meeting of the European research group on pediatric sarcomas

EpSSG

Members of EpSSG.

01/12/2023

The meeting has been the meeting point of the EpSSG group dedicated to research to improve the treatment of childhood and adolescent soft tissue sarcomas.

Pediatric soft tissue sarcomas are a heterogeneous and rare group of tumors for which few treatments are available. Due to the low number of cases, research requires collaboration between experts and families from numerous centers. Joining forces to improve the survival and quality of life of patients with these tumors is the objective of the European pediatric Soft tissue Sarcoma Study group (EpSSG), whose annual meeting was held in Barcelona between November 29 and December 1, organized by Vall d'Hebron.

The EpSSG is a European group responsible for the design of reference guidelines and treatment protocols for soft tissue sarcomas in childhood and adolescence. "Since the origin of the EpSSG, Vall d'Hebron is the Spanish coordinator of the group's clinical trials, and the EpSSG recommendations are followed in most European countries and even in some centers outside Europe", explains Dr. Gabriela Guillén, head of Section of the Pediatric Oncological Surgery Unit at Vall d'Hebron Hospital, researcher of the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group at Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and member of the EpSSG Board, who is also leading the organization of the conference.

More than 150 researchers from the EpSSG's member centers met for three days to share new developments in the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas in childhood, adolescence and young adults, as well as to discuss future lines of research and treatment protocols in rhabdomyosarcoma and non-rhabdomyosarcoma sarcomas. Among the outstanding topics of the sessions were the study of factors associated with treatment failure in poor prognosis rhabdomyosarcomas and the discovery of new prognostic biomarkers. Attention was also focused on the promotion of projects to investigate both the biology and possible new treatments, for example, based on epigenetics, in the extracranial rhabdoid malignant tumor, a very malignant type of sarcoma typical of childhood.

As part of the meeting, the search for synergies between childhood and adult sarcomas was also encouraged. To this end, Dr. César Serrano, head of the Sarcoma Translational Research group at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), gave a talk on the latest developments in research on adult patients.

Finally, it is noteworthy that the meeting was attended not only by professionals working in sarcoma, but also by patients' families, who are very involved in proposing new ideas for future lines of research and collaborate in the creation of new protocols.

Vall d'Hebron: a reference in the research and treatment of sarcomas

Vall d'Hebron has received the CSUR accreditation by the Ministry of Health as a reference center in childhood sarcomas, showing the great knowledge and experience in techniques and procedures in this disease, including pharmacological treatments, surgery and radiotherapy. In addition, Vall d'Hebron is a member of the European reference network in pediatric cancer (ERN PaedCan) and has recently been accredited by the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) as the first comprehensive oncology care center for both adults and children in Spain, which confirms the excellence in multidisciplinary assistance to oncology patients, research, prevention, innovation and training of professionals.

In terms of research, Dr. Josep Roma leads, in the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group at VHIR, a laboratory focused on finding new therapeutic targets and biomarkers for pediatric sarcomas.

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Gabriela Guillén Burrieza

Gabriela Guillén Burrieza

Predoctoral researcher
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Lucas Moreno Martín-Retortillo

Lucas Moreno Martín-Retortillo

Head of group
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Josep Roma  Castanyer

Josep Roma Castanyer

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María de los Ángeles Rodríguez Sánchez

María de los Ángeles Rodríguez Sánchez

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