It’s always fascinating to meet brilliant oncologists who are uniquely modest and the celebration of the 15 th anniversary of the A.R.CA.D Foundation for digestive cancers at Cercle Interallié, was a great moment of scientific excitement and family spirit. The President founder, Professeur Aimery de Gramont, was surrounded by his disciples who have all become successful researchers themselves. With Mariella de Bausset, he created this foundation on December 22, 2006, with funding by Roche laboratories. It has now evolved with several International groups, the ARCAD Groups, bringing together over 80 eminent oncologists from around the world, who do research on colon, pancreatic and liver cancers. Three leading doctors gave the results of their recent studies, Professor Julien Taieb of Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Professor Thierry André of Hôpital Saint Antoine and Doctor Cindy Neuzillet of Institut Curie. And two patients, Serge Balmayer and Doctor Bruno Genevray testified on their very rare recovery.
We could have called them Mr 5%, since in both cases they had a 5% chance of survival. Dr Bruno Genevray made everyone laugh when he recalled his discovery of having pancreatic cancer after he saw that his stools looked like plaster. He rushed to get a blood test, a scanner and an MRI and was operated within a week. He owes his recovery to speed, a fast diagnostic (in his case, his own) and very good doctors. Too often, gastroenterologists or GPs don’t realize that a back ache or a stomach ache can hide pancreatic cancer. A.R.CA.D has developed a program, Urgence Pancréas, which informs gastroenterologists how to do the diagnosis and begin treatments within 14 days maximum. On the same theme, Laurie Cholewa, a famous French tv broadcaster, has organized for the last ten years in the fall, an evening with star singers at l’Olympia, “Les Voix pour l’Espoir” (Voices for hope) in memory of her father. All the proceeds of the evening go to A.R.CA.D’s pancreatic research programs.
And Doctor Cindy Neuzillet, who has collaborated with A.R.CA.D since she was a student and earned a scholarship, discussed her findings for detecting and curing pancreatic cancer. She was so clear and charming in her talk (and so elegant), that everyone in the audience was captivated. She also works on the APACaP study which encourages physical activity for pancreatic cancer patients. This she developed with Professor Pascal Hammel at Hôpital Beaujon. This specific cancer is so hard to treat, that very few labs agree to research new treatments with the exception of AstraZeneca and Servier, who work closely with A.R.CA.D.
Serge Balmayer, is also a Mr 5%. His colon tumor was among the few with MSI (microsatellite instable) which could be handled with the new immunotherapy developed by Professor Thierry André. When, six years ago, he discovered that he was sick, Balmayer had a five year old son, had moved on from owning recording studios in Paris and had just opened a restaurant in Saint Cyr la Rosière in le Perche, the trendy countryside where bobo Parisians tend to migrate. He was devastated. He started a traditional chemotherapy which did not work and left him almost paralyzed in the legs. The good news was that he was among the 5% potential candidates for immunotherapy and after the first shot, he could walk again. Now he leads a normal life and happily runs his restaurant. Sanofi and BMS (Bristol Miyers Squibb) both work with the colorectal database that A.R.CA.D has collected.
Julien Taïeb‘s findings on “Circulating DNA” are essential for the future detection of cancers before a tumor is visible on a scanner. And it enables the doctors to treat the tumor in a more focused way. His communication was a little too scientific for the average public but his natural charm helped.
There were many connections between guests whether they were benefactors or doctors and none of the huge rivalry, which usually reigns among top medical professionals, took place. It is as if the gilt columns of Cercle Interallié had tempered everyone’s spirits. The fairly optimistic news from the brilliant researchers uplifted the general mood. And the absents kept home by a broken arm or by the flue, were missed.
You can find everything about Fondation A.R.CA.D, aide et recherche en cancérologie digestive, on its website and download any of their very informative booklets about specific digestive cancers. Many programs are waiting to be financed. So do not hesitate to mention it to your relatives. March is the month dedicated to colon cancer under the name of Mars Bleu so think about getting a test? It might save your life.
Share this Post