Executive Committee

Maja Beck Popovic

 

Maja Beck Popovic is Professor of pediatric hematology oncology and Head of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Unit at the University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

After medical studies in Bern, she obtained her board certificate in pediatrics in Lausanne, and completed then her fellowship in pediatric oncology at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris, where her clinical interest in neuroblastoma started. She has been member of SIOPEN from the very early years, in charge as international chair of the LNESG2 protocol (on localized resectable neuroblastoma), and has been coordinating other SIOPEN protocols for Switzerland. She has been member of the SIOPEN executive committee as secretary from 2010 – 2014, as Vice-President from 2016 – 2019, and since October 2019 as President.

 


 

Lucas Moreno

Lucas Moreno is a paediatric oncologist dedicated to early clinical trials and neuroblastoma. He trained in La Fe (Valencia, Spain), started his career in the Royal Marsden Hospital (London, UK) under the mentorship of Andy Pearson.

From 2013, he leads the Clinical Trials Unit at Hospital Niño Jesus in Madrid, Spain. He is an active member of European consortia for neuroblastoma (SIOPEN) and early clinical trials (ITCC) and leads the international BEACON-Neuroblastoma trial. His research interests are predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers, drug development and clinical trial methodology. He is special mission representative as NDD/ITCC expertise within the SIOPEN Executive Committee and vice-president since October 2020.

 

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Shifra Ash

Shifra Ash is a pediatric oncologist with a main interest in neuroblastoma and pediatric solid tumors. She is the director of the pediatric oncology day care unit at Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel (SCMCI) and chairwoman of the Israel Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (ISPHO). She completed her undergraduate training in medicine and the biological Sciences at Tel-Aviv University, Israel. She trained in Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus and Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel and is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology. From 2002 she is a member of the SIOPEN group, she was a member of the executive committee (2012-2016) and the treasurer of the SIOPEN (2015-2016). She is currently the co-PI of the SIOPEN Prospective study registry of peripheral neuroblastic tumours presenting with spinal canal involvement (SCI). She is the national PI for the SIOPEN Studies. In 2000 she was involved in research on GAGE as a marker for MRD in neuroblastoma in Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA. From 2006-2013 she led a murine research laboratory in the Frankel laboratory, department of pediatric hematology oncology, center for stem cell research, SCMCI. They studies Immunotherapy for neuroblastoma using allogeneic and haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplant and adoptive transfer of dendritic cells to induce graft versus tumor reaction.

She is one of the six representative of the lesser recruiting country within the SIOPEN Executive Committee and vice-president since October 2020.

 

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Holger N. Lode

Holger N. Lode is Professor and Chair of Pediatrics at the University Medicine Greifswald and leads the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology.  He completed his undergraduate training in Medicine (1992) at the University of Tübingen and at Brown University (Providence, RI) and he received his M.D. summa cum laude in 1993. He was awarded a research fellowship of the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” in 1996 which he used for postdoctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA in the area of tumor immunology. In 1999 he became a junior faculty member at Scripps. In 2000 he continued training in Pediatrics at the Charité, University Medicine Berlin. At the same time he was awarded an “Emmy-Noether” program by the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” with focus on immunotherapy approaches in neuroblastoma. He is special mission representative as immunotherapy expertise within the SIOPEN Executive Committee.

 

He is board certified pediatrician and holds two subspecialties in pediatric hematology/oncology and in pediatric intensive care. In 2002 he became a member of the SIOPEN group and got involved in the clinical development of ch14.18/CHO and he is currently leading two clinical trials with this antibody. With the pivotal trial conducted at his institution, ch14.18/CHO received marketing approval in the EU in May 2017 for the treatment of neuroblastoma. He published over 120 full papers of which >90% are devoted to translational and clinical neuroblastoma research (Scopus Author ID: 57203104099; Scopus H-Factor 33; Citations 3089; cumulative impact-factor: 689,936). He holds three patents on new drugs for neuroblastoma therapy and received numerous prizes and awards.

 

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Martin Elliott

Dr Martin Elliott is a paediatric oncologist and paediatric centre lead at Leeds Children's Hospital. He is the lead for the European high risk neuroblastoma clinical trial in the UK. His areas of interest are neuroblastoma, early phase clinical trials and brain tumours. He is secretary and is United Kingdom's country representative within the SIOPEN Executive Committee.

 


 

 

Gudrun Schleiermacher

 

A physician-scientitist originally from Heidelberg, Germany, Gudrun Schleiermacher studied medicine in Heidelberg, including a final year in the USA, and obtained her basic medical training as a pediatrician in Paris, France and Edinburgh, UK. She then returned to Institut Curie, Paris, to complete her training as a pediatric oncologist, including also additional training in intensive care. She became involved translational research early on in her training. In 2004, she obtained a PhD in Olivier Delattre's laboratory (INSERM U830, Genetics and Biology of Cancer, Institut Curie, Paris). Since 2004, she holds a position as a phycisian-scientist at Institut Curie, where she has been working both as a pediatrician and in the Laboratoire INSERM  U830 ( Director: Olivier Delattre) with activities strongly involving both clinical and translational research.
 
In addition to a broad activity in patient care, she is actively involved in clinical trials at Institut Curie at a national and international level. She is also involved in personal and precision medicine approaches at a national level, as co-PI of the Mappyacts trial (PI :  Birgit Geoerger, I Gustave Roussy, France) which aims at performing whole exome sequencing and RNAseq on an on purpose biopsy obtained at relapse in order to identify predictive biomarkers and to orient towards targeted treatment approaches according to the molecular characteristics in high risk pediatric relapsed cancer. A recent national study MICCHADO (PI Gudrun Schleiermacher, coPI Claudia Pasqualini) aims at molecular and immunological chacarterization of high risk pediatric cancer at diagnosis an during treatment and follow-up.
 
She became team leader of the RTOP team (Recherche Translational en Oncologie Pédiatrique, Laboratoire « Gilles Thomas », a translational research team created withi the SIRIC (Integrated Cancer Research Center of Institut Curie) in 2012.  Her main contributions to translational research concern the active contribution to the discovery and characterization of activating ALK mutations in neuroblastoma. Furthermore the discovery of the correlation between an overall genomic copy number profile and outcome has led to treatment stratification based on a genomic copy number in particular in low risk neuroblastoma patients as for instance in the current European LINES protocol. Her work has led to the identification of accumulation of new genetic events such as segmental chromosome alterations, or ALK mutations, at neuroblastoma relapse. Further studies focus on clonal evolution based on next generation sequencing techniques. Ongoing work aims at further study of molecular mechanisms involved in neuroblastoma progression, based also on more detailed biomarker studies using liquid biopsies and on single cell analysis of neuroblastoma.
 
She is particularly interested in the integration of circulating tumor DNA studies for the study of clonal evolution. Future aims are to integrate both prognostic and predictive biomarkers into integrative treatment approaches for high risk pediatric cancer patients, while working towards a better understanding of the underlying genetic and epigenetic modifications involved in the oncogenesis and tumor progression of this disease.
 
A founding member of SIOPEN, Gudrun Schleiermacher has been member of the SIOPEN executive committee since 2012. She is currently chair of the SIOPEN biology group, aiming to implement molecular diagnostics and translational research in SIOPEN protocols for patients with neuroblastoma. She is also chair of the French neuroblastoma study committee, and is currently president of ANR. She is special mission representative as INRG expertise within the SIOPEN Executive Committee.

 

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Adela Cañete

Adela Cañete is a pediatric oncologist in La Fe ( Valencia),  associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Valencia and scientific director of RETI-SEHOP.  After her medical studies and board certificate in Pediatrics in Valencia, she completed her training as research fellow at MSKCC in New York, working in neuroblastoma. She completed her PhD in 1998 and continue with her clinical work and research focused in this field since then. She has been founding member of SIOPEN and actively participates in it. Currently, she is leading the non-high risk neuroblastoma trial in SIOPEN , LINES (Eudract number: 2010-021396-81) and is Spain country representative within the SIOPEN executive committee. 

 

 


 

Lieve Tytgat

Dr Lieve Tytgat works as pediatric oncologist in the Princess Maxima Center for pediatric oncologyat Utrecht in The Netherlands. She leads a research group and her main focus is on translational studies in neuroblastoma and other solid tumors, with emphasis on liquid biopsy applications to support clinical care. She is active in national and international neuroblastoma disease committees, and currently chairs the International GPOH/DCOG Prospective MRD Study group, the Dutch Neuroblastoma Protocol Committee and SIOPEN HR Protocol Committee. She was a member of the Bone Marrow Revised-INRG working group, a member of the Regional Advanced Neuroblastoma committee.

She is one of the six representative of the lesser recruiting country within the SIOPEN Executive Committee.

 


 

Loredana Amoroso

Loredana Amoroso is a pediatric oncologist whose main interest is neuroblastoma, and in particular early clinical trials and precision medicine.

After her medical studies and board certification in Pediatrics in Rome, she completed her fellowship in Pediatric Oncology at the Institute Gustave Roussy in Paris.

Since 2012, she holds a permanent position as a physician at the Institute Giannina Gaslini where she is involved in clinical and translational research.

She is the Italian country representative within the SIOPEN executive committee.

 


 

 

Sabine Sarnacki

Sabine Sarnacki is Professor of Pediatric Surgery, head of the Department of Pediatric Surgery in Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, Paris, France. She is involved in pediatric oncology since more than 20 years with a particular interest in neuroblastoma. She is leading the surgeon committee of the SIOPEN (International Society of Paediatric Oncology European Neuroblastoma) since 8 years and is country representative of France within the SIOPEN Executive Committee. She was also member of the IPSO EC from 2015 to 2019. She is an expert at the National Cancer Institute for Pediatric Oncology Surgery questions. She was Vice President of the second French National Rare Disease Plan in charge of health questions from 2011 to 2016 and is leading a national reference center on rare colorectal diseases. She has a long experience of research in transplantation immunology and enteric nervous system development. She was involved for 15 years in the National Master of Surgical Research and was the Scientific Director of the Parisian School of Surgery for the last 12 years.

Sabine Sarnacki is currently the head of the IMAG2 laboratory (http://www.imag2.org/) associated to the Imagine Institute (https://www.institutimagine.org/en/) and dedicated to computational anatomy in pediatric tumoral and developmental diseases. This project is associated to a robotic pediatric program initiated 4 years ago.

 


 

Thorsten Simon

Thorsten Simon is associate professor of pediatrics since 2011 and clinical director of the department of pediatric oncology and hematology of the University of Cologne since 2014. After training in general pediatrics, he completed his pediatric oncology/hematology training at the University of Cologne in 2006. His special interest is clinical research in neuroblastoma. He joined the German neuroblastoma research group in 1998 and was actively involved in the national clinical trials NB97 and NB2004. More recently, he was member of the protocol-writing group of the HR-NBL2/SIOPEN trial. He is currently the national coordinator of the SIOPEN registry of peripheral neuroblastic tumours presenting with spinal canal involvement for Germany, chair of the German neuroblastoma registry NB2016, principal investigator of the German NB2015-LR trial for low and intermediate risk neuroblastoma, member of the SIOPEN clinical trial committee, and member of the SIOPEN executive board as the representative of Germany.

 


 

Sabine Taschner-Mandl

Sabine Taschner-Mandl, PhD, has been head of the Tumor Biology group at St. Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute (Vienna Austria) since 2018, where she has been working scientifically since 2008. Taschner-Mandl completed her studies of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Vienna. This was followed by a PhD thesis and a post-doc position at the Institute of Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna. Taschner-Mandl was a visiting scientist at the University of Helsinki, Finland, within the EC-FP7 Marie Curie Program. For her research, Taschner-Mandl has received national and international grants, among others from the Vienna Science, Research and Technology Fund, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and the European Commission. Her research focuses on translational pediatric cancer research, precision oncology and innovative diagnostics. The researcher is a member of international professional societies and working groups (SIOPEN, ITCC, INRG) and currently serves as co-chair of the SIOPEN Biology Speciality Committee. With new molecular biomarkers gaining importance in clinical decision making, quality in molecular diagnostics, harmonization of reporting across borders and continuous research on pathological mechanisms underlying neuroblastoma are her specific areas of interest. She is one of the six representatives of the lesser recruiting country within the SIOPEN Executive Committee.

 


 

Maja Česen Mazič

Maja Česen Mazič is a pediatric oncologist at Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Department, University Children's Hospital Ljubljana, Slovenia.
She is a certified pediatrician and holds subspeciality in pediatric hematology/oncology.
Her clinical interests are in solid tumors and very rare tumors in children.
She is leading high risk neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and non- rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcoma trials in Slovenia.
As an active member of the ExPERT group, she is participating in the PARTNER project guidelines for very rare tumours.
Beside being a member of SIOPEN, EpSSG (European soft tissue sarcoma group), ExPERT (European Cooperative Study Group for Pediatric rare tumors), she is a president of Slovenian Society of Pediatric Oncology/Hematology.
Currently she is finishing her PhD on secondary malignant neoplasms in childhood cancer survivors.
She is one of the six representatives of the lesser recruiting country within the SIOPEN Executive Committee.

 

 

 


 

Vassilios Papadakis

Dr Vassilios Papadakis obtained his MD degree with summa cum laude in 1986 from the University of Athens. He completed Residency in Pediatrics (1987-1990) at St Luke’s/ Roosevelt Medical Center of the Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons and full Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology- Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and NYH Cornell Medical Center (1990-1993, NYC) and spent the following year as Special Fellow in Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) at MSKCC. Research activities involved the pathophysiology of bone marrow engraftment and failure following BMT, CNS tumor megatherapy/ transplantation and late effects of cancer treatment.

He then returned to Greece and since 1997, he was appointed at the Department of Pediatric Hematology – Oncology at Agia Sofia Children’s Hospital in Athens, Greece, where he is still working, as Director NHS. A PhD Degree has been obtained from the Medical School of the University of Crete, examining the long term outcome of growth, development and gonadal function in children treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

 

Dr Vassilios Papadakis is Board Certified in 1. Pediatrics and in 2. Pediatric Hematology Oncology in the USA and holds the Specialty Title of 3. Pediatrics and 4. Hematology in Greece. Current research interest involves the treatment of Neuroblastoma, Leukemias, Lymphomas and Histiocytic Syndromes in children. Clinical practice involves the full spectrum of Pediatric Hematology – Oncology.

Dr. Papadakis is member of the SIOPEN European Neuroblastoma consortium and has served at the SIOPEN Executive Committee (2006-2000, 2012- 2016, 2020-present). Also, he has helped to create and is leading the Quality of Life- Long Term Outcome Committee of SIOPEN and has active participation in the LINES and HR-1 and HR-2 SIOPEN Protocols. He is a member of Hellenic and International Scientific Committees and Board Member of the Hellenic Society of Pediatric Hematology – Oncology (HeSPHO), where he leads the National Neuroblastoma and Histiocytoses Groups. He also enjoys being a member of the Board (Medical Doctor) of the Make--A Wish Foundation Greece.

He is one of the six representatives of the lesser recruiting country and treasurer within the SIOPEN Executive Committee.