The DECIDER project has now been going on for a bit more than a year and the researchers, DECIDERians as they are called by the project leader, professor Sampsa Hautaniemi, gathered in the Finnish Nature Center Haltia to share research findings, make plans for future, learn more and get feedback from each other and the scientific advisors, professors Douglas Lauffenburger and Iain McNeish. And above all, to communicate and meet face-to-face after the remote year with COVID-19 pandemic.
As a representative of the Association of Cancer Patients in Finland, I had the pleasure to join the meeting and meet the DECIDERians at the poster session. As a researcher, even though on the field of human nutrition, I see the poster sessions a the most interesting and important part of scientific meetings. It’s a place where both young and more experienced researchers can present their recent findings and discuss them with each other. Many problems may be solved, and new ideas born at the poster sessions. At the DECIDER poster session, I was happy to see, hear and feel the enthusiasm for research and strong will to strive for the goal of DECIDER project: improving clinical decisions in cancer.
Multidisciplinary research projects, such as DECIDER, are valuable in bringing together expertise from several research groups and companies from many countries, and the collaboration between several work packages of DECIDER is a driving force of the project. In addition to developing diagnostic tools and treatments, an important aim of the DECIDER project from the patients’ and society’s point of view is to study the legal issues that currently slow down the use of new treatments and facilitate availability of personalised therapies for cancer patients in the future.
The research creates hope for cancer patients. Hope of new treatments, hope of being cured, hope of a longer life. Often the way from new research findings to everyday cancer treatments is long and may take years or decades; tomorrow’s treatments are developed by today’s research. But still, many cancer patients just hope to stay alive until a potent drug is found, and simultaneously understand that most of the present research will help the patients in the future. The world is not ready yet but we aim towards a world where each cancer patient can be cured.
Essi Päivärinta, representative of The Association of Cancer Patients in Finland