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Angels and Demons in Rectal Cancer: Challenging the Dogmas - 22nd and 23rd February 2018

Meet one of the speakers of the event, Dr. Inês Santiago, a diagnostic radiologist, talking about her role within the Champalimaud approach to rectal cancer.

  1. 11.1.2018

    Inês Santiago is a diagnostic radiologist in the Champalimaud Clinical Centre and one of the speakers at “Angels and Demons in Rectal Cancer: Challenging the Dogmas”, which will take place at the Champalimaud Foundation on 22nd and 23rd February 2018. For more information, and to register: https://goo.gl/SYJd9n

    What is your role here at the Champalimaud Foundation, specifically in the field of rectal cancer?

    “I am a diagnostic radiologist dedicated to abdominal and gastrointestinal imaging, and part of the Digestive Unit – a multidisciplinary team integrating medical and radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, surgeons, pathologists, psychologists, physiotherapists and research nurses. Our team is committed to the diagnosis and management of patients with primary cancer of the abdomen and gastrointestinal tract; and also to clinical research in that vast area of knowledge.

    I am also a PhD student focused on the development of new techniques in magnetic resonance imaging: a small piece of a large puzzle that bridges the clinic and the fundamental research labs, here at the Champalimaud Foundation. Our work is based on the preclinical MRI facility, extraordinarily equipped with 16.4 and 9.4 Tesla MRI scanners, but crosses other research niches, such as the clinical imaging computational platform and systems oncology labs. With respect to my PhD programme, our aim is to better understand the biology of rectal cancer and subsequently attempt to improve the staging and restaging accuracy of patients, hopefully contributing to ameliorate their survival rates and quality of life.”

    What will you be presenting at “Angels and Demons in Rectal Cancer: Challenging the Dogmas”?
    “I will discuss the advantages of MRI in the staging of rectal cancer, elaborate on the key features for decision-making and how to assess them. Myself and Nikos Papanikolaou, the principal investigator leading the clinical imaging computational platform, will also discuss some of the current hot topics in radiology – radiomics, machine learning and artificial intelligence - and how they may impact rectal cancer imaging. In an era where the sky seems to no longer be the limit for computational capabilities, the interpretation of medical images may be on the verge of a dramatic change. In the reasonably near future, complex mathematical algorithms may preprocess patients´ images and provide verdicts on diagnosis, tumour phenotype, likelihood of response to different therapies and even prognosis. We believe that our role as diagnostic radiologists may shift from pure image reading and reporting to an integrative, consolidating and discipline-bridging one.”

    What are you looking forward to hearing about from the other speakers at the meeting?
    “For this meeting, I expect short, concise and “to the point” presentations by experts; and a lot of time for discussion. I am looking forward to enthusiastic debates on the current controversial themes in the diagnosis and management of rectal cancer, not only between faculty members, but also between them and the audience.
    There are some themes that are particularly appealing to me, given my background and current projects. I am particularly eager to hear opinions on the relevance of MRI-based lymph node positivity and how to manage it; when and how to assess response to neoadjuvant therapy; and how to identify and manage patients with no clinical signs of residual tumour after neoadjuvant therapy – those with a clinical complete response. Two quite different rectal cancer imaging schools will be represented in this meeting – one based in the Netherlands Cancer Institute, led by Regina Beets-Tan; and another in the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust Hospital, led by Gina Brown. I can anticipate some divergent opinions between them and how the discussions will enrich the knowledge, not only of the radiologists in the room (myself included), but also of the rest of the clinicians present.”

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