SIO Research Committee Chair, Dr. Martijn Meijerink of Amsterdam UMC, shares his perspective on his career in IO, his committee work, and the importance of SIO as the field grows.
"After graduating from medical school at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, I returned to my homeland, the Netherlands, for the residency radiology and hereafter the fellowship interventional radiology in Amsterdam. I joined the medical staff as interventional radiologist with interventional oncology as special field of expertise ten years ago and I currently chair the fellowship and differentiation program interventional radiology for (resident) radiologists. My research activities mainly focus on needle guided thermal and non-thermal tumor ablation, conducting both preclinical and clinical research as primary investigator for trials such as the COLLISION trial and trials on irreversible electroporation such as the COLDFIRE, PANFIRE, CROSSFIRE and ALPACA studies. As chair of the SIO research committee, I hope to stimulate IO research and hereby promote quality, accessibility and global acceptance of our treatment methods in order to improve outcomes and reduce complications."
What motivated you to focus your career on IO?
"Being able to radically destroy cancers using highly sophisticated ablative devices and image-guidance techniques that require skilled eye-hand coordination was and still is one the most rewarding experiences in our profession. Especially considering the fact that we used to treat patients in whom all traditional methods were no longer an option."
What is your perspective as chair of the Research Committee?
"We hope to stimulate IO research and hereby promote quality, accessibility and global acceptance of our treatment methods in order to reduce complications and improve quality of life and outcome for the patients we treat."
What is an important goal of your committee?
"Without doubt this is the COLLISION trial. In the phase 3 randomized controlled international COLLISION trial we are currently comparing surgery to thermal ablation for small colorectal liver metastases. If ablation proves to be non-inferior with regards to clinical outcome and superior with regards to morbidity and mortality, global guidelines will switch from resection to ablation as standard of care. We have currently recruited almost 100 patients in the first 18 months and we expect to have interim results in two years and final results in six years from now."
Is there a current project you'd like to highlight?
"In a collaboration between SIO and DATECAN we are working on the development of consensus guidelines that will provide clear definitions and recommendations of time-to-event endpoints used in interventional oncology research. Synchronization of the research language we speak will lead to more reproducible results and more accurate comparisons between studies."
Why is SIO membership important?
"The rapidly growing field of IO requires a professional organization to support her interest. A broad and strong constituency is indispensable in the fair but harsh competition between sub-specialties in clinical oncology, for example regarding funding organizations for new research and multidisciplinary guideline committees. When sitting at the table of these committees the SIO delegates need to represent and talk on behalf of the IO community. Harmonization is essential!"
Where can we find you on a day off?
"Other than my job, my wife and my two daughters I only have one true passion: windsurfing!"
To volunteer with SIO and join Dr. Meijerink and other committee leaders in their efforts, visit: http://www.sio-central.org/page/call-for-volunteers