EASL / ELPA – Beating liver cancer in Europe – The Empowerment of prevention and early detection

EASL / ELPA – Beating liver cancer in Europe - The Empowerment of prevention and early detection

Event description

Under the patronage of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Association for Study of the Liver (EASL) and the European Liver Patients’ Association (ELPA)  are organizing an advocacy event with the support of:
  • University Medical Centre Ljubljana
  • Medical Faculty, University of Ljubljana
  • Slovenian Society of Infectious Diseases
  • Slovenian Association for Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • Slovenian patient association for people with hepatitis – Slovenia HEP
  • Cancer Patients’ Association of Slovenia
  • WHO Country Office in Slovenia

The goal of this event is to emphasize the most urgently needed actions to tackle the multifaceted issue of liver cancer.

Liver cancer is steeply on the rise, unlike other preventable cancers, which are either stable or in decline. It is the sixth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. To tackle this growing burden, it is essential that the right measures are implemented: to ensure prevention and early detection, to address inequalities, and thus reduce the rising curve of liver cancer. 

This event will convene key actors to facilitate a fruitful conversation among experts, policymakers, and patients. They will discuss what effective and evidence-based policies could be implemented to tackle the disease burden. Political will is urgently needed to enable the empowerment of prevention and early detection of liver cancer and, in so doing, to save lives.    

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Biographies of confirmed speakers – ELPA/EASL event 22 October 2021


Igor Zorčič President of the National Assembly Republic of Slovenia.

The President of the National Assembly Igor Zorčič (1978) is a university graduate in law. After graduating from the Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana, in 2003 he got a job as a lawyer in the international claims department at a commercial insurance company. In the period from 2004 to 2009, he was an expert in criminal law at the District State Prosecutor’s Office in Krško. In 2006, he passed the state law exam. Three years later, he got a job in a law firm, where he worked as a lawyer until 2014, when he was first elected as a member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. In the 2014-2018 term, he chaired the Committee on Infrastructure, Environment and Spatial Planning. As chairman of the committee, he advocated and promoted sustainable infrastructure projects. In the current term of office 2018-22, he was the leader of the SMC parliamentary group (Party of the Modern Center). After leaving the SMC party (March 2021), he is a member of the Non-attached Parliamentary Group (NeP).


John F. Ryan
John F. Ryan is Director of the Commission Public Health directorate since September 2016. He is currently the Commission representative on the Board of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Current priorities include management of the Covid pandemic, implementation of an EU cancer plan, antimicrobial resistance, vaccination policies, and the implementation of financial instruments to support health, including research.

Maria Reig

My career in Medicine started in 2001 when I graduated from Medical School. I did my training in Internal Medicine in Castro Rendon Hospital (Neuquén, Patagonia) and then, moved to the Hospital Italiano in Buenos Aires where I did my Hepatology and Liver Transplantation training (2005-2007). In 2008 I moved to Barcelona to enter the BCLC, Liver Unit in Hospital Clínic of Barcelona as a pre-doctoral fellow and I have a faculty postion in the Liver Unit since 2016. Upon completion of a Master in Liver Research and a Degree in Statistics, I developed my Doctoral Thesis under the guidance of Professor Bruix. My area of interest has been the development of prognostic models for patients with liver cancer and evaluation of treatment options with special emphasis in systemic therapy. Additionally, I obtained a Degree in Immuno-Oncology at the University of Navarra that has facilitated the opening of a new area of research about immune modulation and cancer emergence after antiviral treatment. During my career focused in clinical research in liver cancer I have authored 58 manuscripts ORCID ID 0000-0002-5711-9534 with a total Impact Factor of 527.071 and an H-index=26. My current research at the Oncology Unit of Hopsital Clinic is funded by competitive grants where I am the Principal Investigator and by grants and contracts where I am a main collaborator both at the national and international level. At the same time, I am responsible for the coordination of the
educational events and short-term fellowship visits at the BCLC, while also being the mentor of three predoctoral trainees. I regularly review manuscripts for the major Hepatology journals and have been member of the Governing Board of the Spanish Association for the Study of the Liver and ILCA.

Marko Korenjak
Marko Korenjak is the current President of European Liver Patient Association that represents 31 liver patient associations from 25 countries. He has two Masters Degrees, first from business and economy and second from international relations and diplomacy. His work is focused into patient advocacy at highest European level and is connected to changing the landscape of liver patients care. He is a member of PCWP at EMA, EASL Policy & Public Health Committee, EASL Task Force on Liver Cancer prevention, ECDC working group on monitoring hepatitis B and C in EU and WHO EURO Collaborating Committee on TB, HIV and viral hepatitis. In ELPA he leads a team that collaborates in 10 Horizon 2020 projects that represent 100 million EUR spend in high level liver research in more than 140 collaborating partners in European Union. For his work in 2017, he was named by The Economist Intelligence Unit as one out of the 18 most influential people in the world in the field of Hepatitis elimination.

Milan Mishkovikj, Msc.
ELPA (European Liver Patient Association) Board Director, Vice President of the Alliance of Patients' Organizations in N.Macedonia – APO, Member of Advisory Board Project HAREACT, Vice president/ Program Manager in Hepar Centar Bitola Milan Mishkovikj, Msc. is the founder of Hepar Centar Bitola (Liver Center of Bitola), North Macedonia. He currently serves as the organization’s Vice president and CEO. Milan is a faithful member of the Advisory Board Project; HAREACT (The Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT) addresses existing gaps in the prevention of HIV and other co-infections, especially tuberculosis (TB) and viral hepatitis, among people who inject drugs (PWID). The three-year project was launched in late 2015 with core funding by the Health Program
2014-2020 from European Union (EU). Milan is also the founder/Vice President of the Alliance of Patients Organizations in N. Macedonia. Milan graciously attains the position as Director of the European Liver Patient Association (ELPA) As a case manager and caregiver, he is integrally involved in the life struggles of an ordinary patient. His worth-noting initiatives involve creating a patient-centric solution to get feedback from real patients and making decisions based on their needs and perspectives. To innovate the healthcare system, he has a strong interest in executing novel strategies that may positively impact, either directly or indirectly, on timely screening, immunization, diagnostics, medical treatments, as well as the social welfare system. He has great organizational skills, collaborates at an intellectual level with all types of media (PR) and healthcare related campaigns. He possesses excellent communication skills and can integrate well under stressful work environments as a team player and / or as a leader to conduct the work on numerous health projects. His input in improving the healthcare system is highly persistent. His main goal is to initiate different healthcare concepts in the N. Macedonia, European and world healthcare systems. He believes all initiatives need to have a close collaboration and support from different stakeholders. This includes scientists, policy decision makers, patients, and industrial corporate partners. His efforts need to be understood and supported by the international organizations (such as WHO, EU Commission). His actions are directed to inclusive and high-quality health recommendations at all levels, and the European dimension of health care for creating and maintaining a cohesive European society.Milan attained amaster’s in civil law degree from St. Kliment Ohridski University in Bitola. Milan represents North Macedonia as a voting member to GIANT (Global Immunization Action Network Team) He currently resides in Bitola, Macedonia.

Dr Teresa Casanovas (BIO)
European Liver Patients’ Association – ELPA, Associació Catalana de Pacients Hepàtics – ASSCAT Dr. Teresa Casanovas is a hepatologist, President of the Spanish ELPA Member association ASSCAT, ELPA Director, and Leader of the ELPA Scientific Committee. She worked in Hospital of Bellvitge from 1980 to 2016. She focused her career on clinical care and research dedicated to liver diseases and liver patients. She was involved in the start of the Liver Transplant Program, the first in Spain. She participated, as principal investigator, in numerous clinical trials for patients with viral hepatitis (mostly with treatment interferon based). She also I received research grants for studies on health related quality of life (HRQOL) in liver patients. Since she retired she is been advocating for liver patients at national and international level.

Julio Burman
Julio discovered he had Hepatitis C by chance in 1994. He went through three year-long courses on interferon treatment. These years were not easy and Julio struggled with many challenges and questions and he looked for support. When he realized there are no support groups or patient associations for liver patients in Israel, Julio decided in 1998 to establish Hetz- the Israeli Organization for Liver Health. Today Julio is cured from HCV. Nevertheless, he dedicates his life to supporting liver patients and their families, strengthening Hetz's capacity to advocate for the PATIENTS' RIGHT TO KNOW they have a liver disease, and the government's obligation to screen and to treat them. Actually, Julio is directing HETZ and is representative of the patients in the National Council of Liver of the Ministry of Health in Israel.

Dr. Partha Basu
Dr. Partha Basu is an MD in gynecology and PhD in clinical oncology. He was trained as a gynecologic oncologist at Imperial College (Hammersmith Hospital), London. He is the former head and associate professor of Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute of India. He is presently the Deputy Head of Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Branch at International Agency for Research on Cancer, the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization. Dr. Basu’s pioneering research in cervical cancer prevention includes evaluation of efficacy and safety of different HPV vaccines and also the efficacy of a single dose of the vaccine, assessment of performance of cervical cancer screening and triaging tests in the limited resourced settings and development of a novel technology (thermal ablation) to treat cervical precancers. Evidence generated from these studies have informed several guidelines developed by the World Health Organization. Dr. Basu has actively engaged with the Ministry of Health of several countries to help them evaluate performance of their cancer screening programs and improve quality and coverage of such programs. Reducing inequalities in accessing cancer early detection and treatment in resource- constrained settings is another key focus of his research. Dr. Basu’s research projects are supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, National Cancer Institute of the USA, Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom, European Commission, American Cancer Society and other major funding agencies. He is project lead of the new WHO Academy initiative to launch a comprehensive learning program on cervical cancer screening and management.

Peter Jepsen
Born in 1975, graduated from the medical school in Aarhus, Denmark in 2003. Since then clinical training and specialization in hepatology, alongside training in clinical epidemiology. I have published more than 100 papers, most of them in the field of hepato-epidemiology. I currently do half-time clinical work, half-time research. My primary interests are alcoholic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, most notably the value of surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma among patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.

Pierre Nahon
Pierre Nahon is Professor of Hepatology at Jean Verdier Hospital in Bondy, APHP, France. He is also a clinical scientist at INSERM U1162, studying the constitutional genomics of liver cancer. Professor Nahon gained his medical degree from the University of Paris 13, before undertaking a PhD in biology. Subsequently he completed a Higher Degree for Research (HDR) at the University of Paris 13.
Professor Nahon’s research interests focus on the complications of cirrhosis, in particular hepatocellular carcinoma. He is the Scientific Coordinator of the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis CO12 CirVir cohort, which is a prospective follow-up of nearly 1800 patients with compensated viral cirrhosis in 35 centres across France. This cohort allowed the achievement of numerous publications since 2015 in major international journals such as Journal of Hepatology, Hepatology, Gut and Gastroenterology. Professor Nahon is also the Coordinator of a GWAs within the Genetic work package of the French Hepatocellular Carcinoma Multi-technological Project (HECAM). More recently, he obtained funding for the implementation of a multicentric Phase 2 trial testing the efficacy of combining percutaneous electroporation with neo- and adjuvant immunotherapy for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Hepatology and is an ad hoc reviewer for numerous other scientific journals including Gastroenterology, Gut, Hepatology, Cancer Research, Liver International, Annals of Oncology and Carcinogenesis.

and others…

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