The Klastersky Award to encourage research and innovation in the field of supportive care
On 16 December 2022 the Klastersky Award was awarded to Dr Cherifi for his research into the impact of early supportive care assessment on the treatment decision in head and neck cancers before concomitant radiochemotherapy. This award encourages the spirit of innovation and research in supportive cancer care and is named after a pioneer in the development of this field: Professor Jean Klastersky, Head of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Jules Bordet Institute between 1977 and 2005 and still an active member of many associations dedicated to medical oncology and supportive care.
Dr Cherifi's research into supportive care for head and neck cancers is rewarded
Dr François Cherifi, currently on an international fellowship at the Jules Bordet Institute, has been honoured for his research into the impact of supportive care on treatment for head and neck cancer patients. The study was carried at the University Hospital in Caen on 102 head and neck cancer patients for whom treatment by radiotherapy and chemotherapy had been decided. Before commencing treatment, six elements were assessed for each patient during day hospitalisation: nutrition, addictions (tobacco and alcohol), pain, precarity, mental health and cognitive disorders. In 14% of cases the treatment initially foreseen was adapted to better meet the specific situation of the patient. "Data on patients of this type without assessment of the six criteria showed a mortality of up to 10% due to treatment. With the assessment of these parameters and a possible change of treatment, this mortality was reduced to just 1%. These figures reflect the importance of taking these parameters into account when establishing treatment for head and neck cancers, which are highly toxic treatments," demonstrated Dr Cherifi. Having completed his oncology internship in Caen, Dr Cherifi is currently spending one year on an international fellowship at the Jules Bordet Institute to train in clinical research and breast cancer.
The Jules Bordet Institute, a pioneer in supportive care in medical oncology
Professor Jean Klastersky was Head of Internal Medicine at the Jules Bordet Institute between 1977 and 2005. He was also previously a Professor of Medicine at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. In the early years of the new century he developed a particular interest in supportive care, that is, the full range of care designed to improve the quality of life of a patient receiving cancer treatment. Initially focusing principally on physical problems (infections, pain, etc.), the discipline has broadened progressively to include a psychological and social aspect. This gave rise to the creation of the Supportive Care Unit in cooperation with the Psycho-Oncology Clinic of the Jules Bordet Institute. As a true pioneer in the creation and development of supportive care, Professor Klastersky also contributed to the founding of the MASCC, serving as its president for 10 years (from 1988 to 1999). Today the MASCC has more than 5,000 international members. The Jules Bordet Institute is continuing to develop supportive care thanks to multidisciplinary follow-up carried out by our oncologists as well as by psycho-oncologists, the pain clinic, physiotherapists, speech therapists and dieticians. A number of post-cancer support programmes are also available to patients. The RESTART programme, for example, proposes a personalised follow-up for patients with breast cancer in remission.