SIOPEL was the acronym for Société Internationale d’Oncologie Pédiatrique – Epithelial Liver Tumor Study Group. The group has been recently renamed as International Childhood Liver Tumors Strategy Group. It was founded in Jerusalem (Israel) in 1987 at the time of XIXth SIOP Annual Conferenceby a group of pediatric surgeons, oncologists, pathologists and radiologists who wanted to start an international collaborative effort to improve the diagnosis, treatment and long-term outcome of childhood liver cancer (hepatoblastoma HB and hepatocellular carcinoma HCC). It was clear from the outset that the group would study these diseases internationally. Today more than 100 institutions from Europe, Asia, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand collaborate in SIOPEL. As of to-day the SIOPEL Liver Tumour Study group is at its fourth generation of clinical trials and almost 900 children affected by hepatoblastoma or hepatocellular carcinoma have been registered in the trials.
According to group’s bylaws the key and operative elements of the SIOPEL group are:
- Chairperson (Bruce Morland)
- Past chairman (Piotr Czauderna)
- Core Committee (Rudolf Maibach, Giorgio Perilongo, Piotr Czauderna)
- SIOPEL Council Members
- Trial co-ordinators & data managers;
- Discipline panels and discipline panel chairmen;
- Group’s Statistician (Rudolf Maibach);
The cooperating institutions of the group are:
- The Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU),University of Birmingham (Dr Pam Kearns, Deputy Director responsible for paediatric trials).
- The IBCSG which provides, in the figure of Dr. Rudolf Maibach, the biostatistical knowledge.
- The CINECA, the non-profit Italian inter-universit organisation which provides to the group the AMR system (Advanced Multicentric Research), a system based on WEB technology for collecting, handling and elaborating data (Marisa de Rosa, Anna Covezzoli, Eugenia Rinaldi)
The whole activity of the group itself has never been funded but just single projects. The major sources of funding havew been so far:
- The UK Cancer Research Campaign, now CRUK
- The Swiss Cancer League
- Private donations
- European Grant from VIIth Framework Program (ENCCA Grant)