MESSAGE FROM THE HONORARY PRESIDENTS OF EUROGIN 2017
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you at EUROGIN 2017 in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is, with its wonderful 17th-century city center and extensive system of canals, renowned as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. It offers a great variety of historical and cultural treasures. Although Amsterdam has the same open atmosphere as in the 17th and 18th centuries, it is a modern city with a strong economy, a tremendous cultural life, and unique cuisine and artistic works.
In the field of cervical cancer prevention, the conference venue of EUROGIN 2017 has had a pivotal, but now historical importance. In the 1994 HPV conference held at this venue, the first presentation of data showing that vaccination with papillomavirus-like particles protected experimental animals against infection was given. EUROGIN 2017 will be held at an important time-point in the development of global cancer control, where both HPV vaccination and HPV screening are rapidly being made available to an increasingly large part of the global population.
Therefore, the EUROGIN 2017 conference will once again be a great reminder of what basic and clinical sciences have achieved to date in the battle against cervical cancer - a leading cause of death in women worldwide. During the past two decades EUROGIN has furthermore shown to be been an excellent platform to present communicate and discuss advances findings about in the entire field spectrum of human papillomavirus (HPV) related diseases. Highlights of the recent past include gender-neutral HPV vaccination programs and the implementation of organised HPV screening programs.
The implementation of HPV screening heralds a new era of cancer screening. Easy, automated molecular tests are now offered for general population screening all over the world. We think that HPV screening will act like an “ice-breaker”, stimulating a rapid development of new molecular screening tests that will evolve from a rapidly growing field of biomarker discovery. Therefore, the promise to achieve better healthcare through personalized medicine, where molecular tests will ensure reliable, early diagnosis and optimal choice of effective treatments for each patient, will become an increasingly important reality. A related concept is “risk-stratified screening”, where the vision is to move away from “one-size-fits-all” screening programs towards programs where citizens at high risk are offered more intense screening and those not in need of screening have less frequent screening. HPV-based screening involves generation of accurate data on future risks and is therefore ideally suited to develop towards a risk-stratified screening program, tailored to the risks of the individuals.
Today, we know that HPV is the cause of several forms of cancer and other diseases and this conference is therefore of interest for a broad variety of clinical and scientific specialists. HPV research is characterized by a unique interdisciplinarity, engaging both virologists, molecular biologists, immunologists, epidemiologists, public health experts and clinicians. In order to achieve further advances in cancer prevention and treatment, it is of utmost importance that basic and clinical scientists studying HPV continue to collaborate in multidisciplinary networks. The EUROGIN conference is the ideal platform for scientists of many disciplines to network, share research ideas and discuss the latest advances in this challenging and multifaceted field of investigation. Hence, we wish all participants a great experience at this year’s EUROGIN congress.