Year : 2018 | Volume
: 1 | Issue : 1 | Page : 3--5
Indian society of neuro-oncology: Travails and triumphs
Rakesh Jalali, Pankaj Kumar Panda
Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, Apollo Heart Centre, Chennai,Tamil Nadu, India
Prof. Rakesh Jalali
Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, Apollo Heart Centre, Chennai - 600 006, Tamil Nadu
|How to cite this article:|
Jalali R, Panda PK. Indian society of neuro-oncology: Travails and triumphs.Int J Neurooncol 2018;1:3-5
|How to cite this URL:|
Jalali R, Panda PK. Indian society of neuro-oncology: Travails and triumphs. Int J Neurooncol [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Jun 27 ];1:3-5
Available from: https://www.Internationaljneurooncology.com/text.asp?2018/1/1/3/245357
Primary neoplasms of the central nervous system (CNS) represent 2%–3% of all tumors but continue to pose formidable challenges and are one of the leading causes of disability and mortality. These tumors as we have known affect almost all age groups and present with varied pathological types and even more varied molecular subtypes. Brain tumors in children are also the second most common cancers but associated with high chance of long-term control and survivals. Optimal management of these tumors both in both pediatric and adult populations, however, mandates a very close cooperation and a multidisciplinary team effort, which includes clinicians, radiologists, pathologists, basic scientists, occupational therapists, psychologists, rehabilitation team, and social workers. Apart from just the usual clinical outcomes of survival, other aspects of rehabilitation, social functioning and quality of life, patient-reported outcomes, palliative care, and long-term survivorship issues have become extremely relevant in modern day neuro-oncology practice.
Given the diverse landscape of expertise and resource availability in our country for health-care delivery, patients with CNS tumors have been traditionally managed without always a jointly coordinated multidisciplinary team approach. There was, therefore, a distinct need felt to bringing medical professionals involved in neuro-oncology together within the country to address some of these challenges as well as possibly nurturing future generations to carry forward the momentum. The seeds of forming this platform were perhaps sown in the year 2004 during the World Federation of Neurological Societies tumor section meeting in Jaipur organized by Late Prof. Abhijit Guha. The impetus was carried forward internationally to the 2007 Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) annual meeting where the senior author (RJ) was asked to speak at their official dinner banquet. The Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology (ISNO) was, therefore, conceptualized and formally launched during the Annual Evidence-Based Management meeting in 2008, held at Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, with “Evidence-Based Management” in Neuro-Oncology as the primary theme, with very active support of several key people including Dr. AK Singh from New Delhi, Dr. Chitra Sarkar from AIIMS, Dr. K Sridhar (that time in Kolkata), and several others. Since then, ISNO has been nurtured by stalwarts in the field of neuro-oncology such as Dr. Vijaylakshmi Ravindranath, Dr. A K Singh, Dr. Chitra Sarkar, Dr. C E Deopujari, Dr. Kumar Somasundaram, Dr. Vedantam Rajshekhar, Dr. Sandip Chatterjee, Dr. Vani Santosh, and presently, Dr. Suresh Sankhla.
Over the years, ISNO has established itself as country's premier forum for promotion and advancement of scientific knowledge and research in the field of neuro-oncology. Diversified membership presently comprising close to 400 members includes representation from all major stakeholders relevant to neuro-oncology such as neuro-surgery, radiation oncology, neuro-oncology, neuropathology, basic neurosciences, pediatric oncology, medical oncology, neuroradiology, neurology, psychiatry, and rehabilitation specialists. Since inception, the society has been holding its annual meeting (ISNOCON) every year during springtime (March–April) in different parts of the country with a unique theme for every conference. The ISNO annual meetings have carved a definite niche in neurological and oncology fields and are eagerly looked forward to by the scientific and medical communities. One of the highlights of ISNOCON is the “Ab Guha Oration,” in the loving memory of “Late Prof. Abhijit Guha,” clinician-scientist par excellence, who was instrumental in setting up of the society, providing it mentorship and guidance for several years, and who continues to inspire us even today. In keeping with the high standards, this oration has been delivered every year by the doyens of neuro-oncology including Dr. P. N. Tandon, Dr. M. R. S. Rao, Dr. Andreas von Deimling, Dr. Michael Brada, Dr. Roger Stupp, Dr. Martin Taphoorn, Dr. Huges Duffau, Dr. Patrick Wen, Dr. Minesh Mehta, and Dr. Raymond Sawaya, respectively (2009–2018).
Another interesting and sought-after event in ISNOCON is the “Don't Miss It Session” wherein leading experts critically appraise and summarize some of the landmark studies presented/published in the preceding year that has either changed practice or improved our fundamental understanding. Under the dynamic leadership of its founding office bearers, ISNO has also taken up the challenge of generating “consensus recommendations and guidelines” for the management of “common brain tumors” such that there is uniformity of care throughout the country. Medulloblastoma, the poster boy of contemporary pediatric neuro-oncology, was chosen as the first prototype cancer for which an expert panel was constituted for drafting the consensus guidelines (first presented at ISNOCON 2015). Following extensive discussion and dissemination through various meetings and incorporation of suggestions from all quarters, the final version was ratified and published as “Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology consensus guidelines for the contemporary management of medulloblastoma” in Neurology India's March–April 2017 issue. These guidelines have been received very enthusiastically and form a critical resource not only in the country but also in other parts of the world, including Africa and Latin America. The 2017 annual meeting was focused on “Practical Implementation of WHO 2016 classification of CNS neoplasms in our country;” again, an extremely important and relevant topic with the current impact of molecular markers has made in contemporary clinical practice. At the same time though, the ISNO task force assigned has taken cognizance of the availability of resources, cost and has made the guidelines as practical as possible to be utilized judiciously in various case scenarios. This year's guidelines will be focused on the “consensus guidelines on primary CNS lymphoma” on the basis of excellent brainstorming sessions at the 2018 annual ISNO conference and will be a good resource material for the neurosurgery and oncology communities.
In an attempt to promote good science and academic competitiveness, ISNO has also right since its inception organized Annual Awards and Training Fellowships in Basic, Translational, and Clinical Neuro-Oncology categories both for students and faculty. Generous supports from various senior ISNO members (Dr. Kumar Somasundaram, CE Deopujari, Dr. Pramod KPR, and RJ) has been a blessing for this cause. One such award which ISNO has instituted is an annual “International Conference Grant” in Neuro-Oncology where suitable financial assistance is provided in the form of two grants in a year, one for each half of the year to attend international meetings/forums where any scientific work done in the country related to any neuro-oncology themes is presented. ISNO is also striving hard to bring about uniformity in the delivery of care within such a varied socioeconomic landscape and carries out CME programs in various parts of the country on a regular basis. The society maintains its mission to disseminate evidence-based knowledge in the heterogeneous health-care systems of our country and at the same time continues its the quest to serve as a suitable platform to conceive, collaborate, and aim to generate quality data from the vast pool of patient numbers and excellent available expertise available in the country.
ISNO's global outreach has been further augmented by virtue of its collaborations with leading societies involved in neuro-oncology such as SNO, World Federation of Neuro-Oncology Societies (WFNOS), European Association of Neuro-Oncology, Asian SNO (ASNO), and International Brain Tumour Alliance. Presidentship of ASNO (RJ) and WFNOS membership was another milestone to this recognition with the Xth Annual Meeting of ASNO being hosted in Mumbai, India, in 2013, along with the Vth Annual Meeting of ISNO. The allocation of a separate special “ISNO session” at the 2015 Annual Meeting of SNO in San Antonio, Texas, USA, was an affirmation to its growing stature. Most recently, ISNO is also collaborating with the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium to conduct multicenter collaborative research, especially translational research and early-phase clinical trials for pediatric CNS malignancies. ISNO has been a strong proponent of the fact that research improves outcomes in cancer, especially in low- and middle-income countries. ISNO has more also working closely with colleaguesin the SNO Sub-Saharan Africa. Representing ISNO during its inaugural meeting was the senior author (RJ) wherein he reiterated ISNO's commitment toward propagating excellence in neuro-oncology not only in India but across the globe, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
The society has now ventured into starting a journal of its own, another challenge but an opportunity in its own right, as well. The eminent members of the editorial board are working hard, and with cooperation from all members of the society, it will hopefully mark another creditable niche, as well.
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