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Cancer Research in Europe. A ’Foundation’ for the Future


A new charitable foundation that will improve cancer care in Europe and beyond is being created by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading charity in the field of oncology education and training.

The new ESMO Foundation will officially come into existence during ESMO’s biennial congress, which is being held in Vienna this year. In the city where Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and the Strauss family did their most significant work, it is only fitting that a concert should be the event through which the Foundation will be launched. On Saturday, 30 October 2004, the Wiener Virtuosen (Vienna Virtuosi), together with soprano Ildiko Raimondi, will give a special performance at the Wiener Konzerthaus (Vienna Concert House) for ESMO members and guests. These twelve musicians are among the principal players of the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra), one of the world’s greatest and oldest (1842) symphonic ensembles, whose conductors have included Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Herbert von Karajan and many other podium giants. And the stunning Wiener Konzerthaus will be an appropriate frame for so important an event in ESMO’s history.

The purpose of the new ESMO Foundation is to provide much needed funds for a wide range of activities, with the ultimate aim of making the best treatment available to every cancer patient. "The European Society for Medical Oncology is preparing for the future. It has long been the desire of ESMO’s Executive Committee to launch an ESMO Foundation, and the day has finally come," ESMO Past President Prof. Heinz Ludwig says with pride. "ESMO’s number one priority is to constantly improve the care and treatment of cancer patients," Ludwig says. "To achieve that goal, substantial financial support is needed. We hope the ESMO Foundation will help to channel the funds needed for fostering education and research to meet our goals."

Like ESMO itself, the Foundation’s priorities will be to advance the art, science and practice of medical oncology and to disseminate that knowledge as widely as possible. It will organize scientific conferences; publish journals, books, and guidelines; develop training courses; award scholarships and organize seminars for patients and their relatives.

Several sponsors have already expressed interest in making unrestricted educational grants to support the ESMO Foundation. Prof. Richard Herrmann, Head of the Oncology Department of the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland was instrumental in obtaining the first donation of € 100,000, presented in January 2004 by Dr. Bernhard Ehmer, Vice President of Business Area Oncology at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. "The quantity and quality of oncology healthcare differs widely among ESMO member countries. I believe that the ESMO Foundation can help to close this gap," said Prof. Herrmann.
In his new role as Chairman of the ESMO Foundation, Heinz Ludwig expressed his gratitude to Merck KGaA and said that "especially in times when tight budgets are common, such generous support is crucial for non profit societies like ESMO to be able to meet their responsibilities.

Gracemarie Bricalli | alfa
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