From the President of the IBC-IC: Massimo Cristofanilli, MD
Dear Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Community,
As a new year begins, we look back to the accomplishments of the previous year and forward to new opportunities. Unfortunately, we must also look at the missed opportunities—it is the only way we can learn and grow as an organization.
2018 brought us much to celebrate with the consolidation of our International Consortium, the launch of its website and the 6th International Conference held in Madrid in September. A large group of IBC clinical investigators and laboratory researchers gathered together with advocates and junior investigators to exchange experiences and find a common ground to support our mission. We discussed several collaborative clinical trials to activate in member institutions and evaluated new proposals in the area of epidemiology and biomarkers—including an International IBC Registry.
I was particularly pleased to witness increased interest and career focus of junior investigators from various prestigious universities around the world. This continued interest gives me hope that the Consortium is on track to fulfill its stated mission. We plan to increase our opportunities for interaction and collaborations—and we announced a new meeting later in 2019 to be held in Tunisia and organized by Dr. Hamouda Boussen and his local Medical Society. We want to celebrate Dr. Nejib Mourali and his pioneer work in IBC in North Africa that brought this disease to the spotlight.
My only disappointment was in the lack of participation by Spanish medical oncology at the International Conference this year. It was a missed educational opportunity to learn about an aggressive form of breast cancer whose outcome still remains dismal worldwide, as suggested by data presented at the conference. We have still much work ahead of us in order to give IBC patients the attention and the research necessary to better understand the unique features of this disease. Only with such information will we be able to better diagnose, prevent and treat it. Because of these difficulties, we are struggling to access innovative drugs for IBC-directed therapies to improve the lives of our patients—and we lost many more this year.
I want to close with a note of hope for 2019. We need to further grow our organization to have a stronger voice—and we need more resources. I invite you to spread the word, join us and support us if you can. Together, we will be loud and heard.
Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, FACP