Dr. Pablo Menéndez
Dr Pablo Menéndez won the triannual ED Thomas Post-doctoral Fellowship awarded by the Foundation in 2006. He is currently director of the Andalusian Stem-cell Bank.
"Few fields have seen advances like those made in the field of haemato-oncology. However, we must understand-clinicians, researchers and patients alike-that while diagnosis is relatively simple, successful treatment is extremely difficult; the key, however, lies in understanding the causes of the disease and how it evolves.
To understand at molecular and cellular levels in which cell leukaemia originates, how it advances and what mutations and other minor chromatic aberrations trigger aggressive and metastatic processes will be the future of haemato-oncology in the coming decades. In addition, we shouldn't forget that all the knowledge we are building up on a daily basis must first undergo animal testing and preclinical trials before a clinical trial is possible on real-life patients who can only ever receive a safe treatment.
I personally believe that under no circumstances should we forget paediatric cases of leukaemia. Nobody has obliged me to work with children and infants who suffer from leukaemia but quite frankly, it is hard to accept that such an illness can threaten all their dreams in life at as young as 3-5 years old. I believe that investment in improving our knowledge of the epidemiology, etiology and physiopathology of paediatric tumours should be an obligation more so than ever before. Here, non-profit organizations such as the José Carreras Foundation play an extremely important role, not only financially, but also vocationally and in terms of motivation.
We must succeed on bringing on board many more organizations, both public and private, that seek a social gain by allowing everyone to benefit from universal access to treatment and diagnosis. The process is formed not only by clinicians and researchers at different levels in their professional careers, but also by those who receive funding and routinely dedicate 12 hours a day and their weekends to their research as part of their vocation, all in exchange for achieving a much hoped for result which, the majority of the time, fails to materialize. "