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ISPNO 2010 - International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology

(Vienna, 21 June 2010) From 20 to 23 June the International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, ISPNO 2010, will be organised in Vienna. It is no coincidence that Vienna has been chosen as the venue for this prestigious conference.

Successes in healing and late effects of childhood tumours
The Neuro-Oncology Unit at the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in Vienna is a pioneering establishment worldwide when it comes to the research, teaching and treatment of brain and spinal cord tumours in children. With around 50 new cases treated each year, MedUni Vienna is one of the biggest centres in the German-speaking area. In the last ten years the healing rates have been able to increase considerably by treating children and youths with brain tumours.
"Progress in drug treatment means it is possible for us today to avoid irradiation of the brain with young children or postpone this until a later age. With continuous improvements in radiotherapy and also in the neurosurgical techniques themselves, today we can also clearly reduce the late effects for the treated children," explains Univ. Prof. Dr. Irene Slavc, Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in Vienna.

Childhood tumours
One in 2,000 people will suffer from a brain tumour during their childhood or youth. Brain and spinal cord tumours are the most common form of malignant disease during childhood after leukaemia. The chances of being cured depend on factors such as tumour type, location and the associated operability as well as the age of the patient.
The established treatment options for tumours of the central nervous system in children and youths comprise neurosurgical interventions, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which are used alone or in combination, depending on the type of tumour. The first treatment step in most cases is a neurosurgical intervention. A largely full surgical removal of the tumour is still the most important measure for curing patients with most tumours.
"The conditions for successful diagnosis and treatment of childhood tumours are ideal at the Medical University of Vienna and Vienna General Hospital AKH. In the Paediatric Brain Tumour Board, which has been established for more than ten years and involves specialists for paediatric neuro-oncology, paediatric neurosurgery, radiotherapy, neuropathology and neuroradiology, the cases of new patients are discussed as well as those of patients who are currently undergoing treatment. With the ongoing exchange and cooperation of the specialists, both an immediate start to treatment and also rapid implementation of the individual steps of diagnosis and therapy are guaranteed," says Univ. Prof. Dr. Irene Slavc.
Research focal points of the paediatric neuro-oncological working group
One of the current focal points of clinical research at the MedUni is intrathecal therapy where chemotherapy is administered directly into the cerebral ventricle fluid via a subcutaneously implanted reservoir. With this form of therapy the University Paediatric Clinic is the most experienced in the world when it comes to treating children with brain and spinal cord tumours. The development of neurological-diagnostic methods and neuropsychological treatment models to promote cognitive and social skills is another area of focus. Here it is important that patients can go back to school and be given ideal support to help them learn after a brain tumour.
The experimental research is being carried out in close cooperation with the Proteomics Unit of Basic Research at the Paediatric Clinic (Prof. Lubec) and the Neurological Institute (Prof. Ströbel, Prof. Haberler).
One major goal of this cooperation is to analyse biomarkers which provide information on the prognosis and the response to a certain kind of therapy. There also needs to be clarification about mechanisms which lead to the progression and development of resistance of medulloblastomas and low-grade gliomas.

» Conference programme ISPNO 2010