The 3rd Congress of the Serbian Association for Cancer Research (SDIR) with international participation “Challenges in anticancer research: translation of knowledge to improve diagnosis and treatment”

Our third congress attracted 93 cancer researchers, clinicians and PhD students from Serbia and seven foreign countries. The president of SDIR, Research Professor dr Mirjana Branković-Magić welcomed the participants at the congress opening. Research Professor dr Nikola Tanić, Deputy Minister for Science of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia gave a welcome speech at the official opening. Assistant Professor dr Marina Nikitović, Deputy Director for Science and Education of the Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia also welcomed the gathered participants. Excellent and inspiring lectures were delivered by distinguished Serbian and international cancer researchers throughout the three Round Tables – “Precision medicine in oncology: current perspective” (moderated by Research Professor dr Siniša Radulović), “Rising knowledge in molecular genetics of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in the era of next generation sequencing” (moderated by Research Professor dr Mirjana Branković-Magić), and “Current research in radiobiology” (moderated by dr Marina Nikitović and Associate Research Professor  dr Tatjana Stanojković), as well as throughout the outstanding Panel Discussion “New models for cancer research” moderated by Associate Research Professor  dr Milica Pešić.

Besides the lectures focused on the basic research we had the opportunity to learn how this knowledge is translated to the clinical practice.  It was pointed out that determination of new genetic biomarkers in cancer has important clinical impact in therapy selection. Serbian researchers have implemented new approaches to guiding preventive and treatment strategies for patients in everyday practice. Epigenetics have been also addressed by our lecturers as an important approach to molecular diagnostics of cancer. The rise of immunotherapy in melanoma treatment also focused the attention to immunological biomarkers which promise to bring more appropriate clinical endpoint and help reduce side effects of this type of treatment.

Next generation sequencing as the most important tool in genetics of hereditary cancers gave us exciting new results about new genes involved in the diseases etiology. On the other hand this technology raised many ethical issues such as dealing with many incidental findings and genetic variants of unknown clinical significance.

In the area of radiobiology the approaches on the methods for determination of severe toxicity during radiotherapy was discussed as well. MiRNAs as well as cytokines were discussed as potential biomarkers for radiation therapy in the terms of both prognosis and prediction.

Within the panel discussion about new models for cancer research it was discussed about in vitro (2D and 3D) and animal models, their advantages and limitations. New anticancer strategies were evaluated.

We were really pleased to host distinguished international cancer researchers:

• dr Nicola Normanno, Director, Cell Biology and Biotherapy Unit, Translational Research Department, INT-Fondazione G. Pascale, Naples, Italy
• prof. dr Yannoukakos Drakoulis, Director of Research, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory INRASTES,  National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Athens, Greece
• prof. dr Srđan Novaković, honorary SDIR member, Head of the Department of Molecular Diagnostics, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia,  (sponsored by EACR),
• prof. dr Esat Mahmut Özsahin, Radiation Oncology Department, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland (sponsored by EACR),
• Assistant Professor dr Ignacio Ochoa Garrido, Department of Human Anatomy and Histology, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain (sponsored by EACR),
• prof. dr Engin Ulukaya, Head of Health Science Institute, Head of Cancer Research Center Istinye University, Istanbul, Turkey
• prof. dr Konstantinos Dimas, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece.

Forty three high-quality posters were presented at the poster session on Friday 6th October. The three best poster presentations were awarded by the Best Poster Award Committee (prof. dr Zvonko Magić, prof. dr Srđan Novaković, and prof. dr Engin Ulukaya).  The EACR sponsored these three awards (first prize –  200 EUR, second and third prize – 100 EUR).

The first EACR poster prize won dr Ana Krivokuća, Assistant Research Professor from the Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia with the poster presentation entitled “The frequency of Ala91Val PRF1 germline mutation in Serbian breast and ovarian cancer patients”. The winner of the second EACR poster prize was Stevo Jovandić from the Institute for Medical Research, Military Medical Academy, Belgrade, Serbia with the poster: “Differences in BRAF mutations status between primary and metastatic melanoma lesions”. Jelena Marjanović Vićentić from the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, University of Belgrade, Serbia won the third EACR poster prize with the poster “SOX1 promotes malignancy of glioblastoma”.

A complimentary cocktail dinner and party took place at the District bar in Belgrade on Friday, where our participants enjoyed in warm and friendly networking evening with live music.
The SDIR3 congress is accredited by the Serbian Health Council for Continuing Medical Education (No A-1-1778/17).

The Serbian Association for Cancer Research would like to acknowledge the ongoing financial support of European Association for Cancer Research, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia and Institute for Biological Re¬search “Siniša Stanković”.

The Serbian Association for Cancer Research is also very grateful to the follow¬ing sponsors for providing financial support to the SDIR-3 congress:

GOLD SPONSORS: Labena d.o.o. and ELTA 90 Medical Science d.o.o. Beograd
SILVER SPONSORS: Roche d.o.o., DSP Chromatography d.o.o., Vivogen d.o.o., and Unichem d.o.o.

Serbian Association for Cancer Research is very grateful to our invited speakers for their expertise and important contribution to discussions during sessions.

We wish to thank all the participants for making this congress successful. We were really glad to see so many young researchers eager to present their results and to contribute to lively discussions.  We hope that this congress was the opportunity for them to share the experiences, to enjoy social life and make new collaborations.