Special Projects

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SPAEN brings its objectives to life - primarily the improvement of diagnosis, treatment and care for sarcoma patients – in different special projects with varying focus.

New Horizons GIST

For several years now, NEW HORIZONS GIST is the most important global annual conference for GIST patient advocates. At NEW HORIZONS GIST, patients from the global GIST patient community come together, can interact with top GIST experts, have access to state‐of‐the‐art medical and scientific information and can exchange best practice in patient advocacy among each other. The conference is a balanced symbiosis of medical content, advocacy topics and capacity building sessions. It is held every year and organised by either American Groups (The Life Raft Group/Alianza GIST) or European Groups in cooperation with SPAEN.

NEW HORIZONS GIST 2020 was held virtually due to COVID-19. Please see all relevant information here.

NEW HORIZONS GIST 2018 was held in Vienna, Austria, in September 2018

NEW HORIZONS GIST 2017 was held in Wayne, New Jersey, USA from October 1-3, 2017.

NEW HORIZONS GIST 2016 was held in Sitges/Barcelona, Spain from May 18-21, 2016.


Roundtables on specific topics

In close collaboration with expert patients and the SPAEN scientific board, SPAEN identifies specific topics and brings the key players together to discuss and form a common statement or publication to address the topic and spread knowledge.
Recent roundtables were:

  • Roundtable on Desmoids – outcome: Update of Desmoid Consensus Paper – published in "Annals of Oncology"
    February 23, 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany
  • Roundtable/Exchange in Generic Imatinib with CML Community and PD Dr. Peter Reichardt
    July 15, 2015 in Munich, Germany

  • Roundtable on Desmoids – outcome: Desmoid Consensus Paper – published by the European Journal of Cancer
    May 8, 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany

  • Roundtable on Pediatric and Wild-Type GIST
    October 22, 2013 in London, UK


Mentoring and support

SPAEN supports individuals or groups of patients who plan to found a national patient organisation by giving advice and – if possible and necessary – accompanying them on their way for some time. This way, Swiss sarcoma patients founded a patient organisation “Swiss Sarcoma”. After two “Swiss Sarcoma Patient Days (April 2014 and April 2015), the official group was brought to life .

Furthermore, SPANDAN, an Indian Sarcoma Patient Group, was founded in February 2015 after approx. one year of planning, supported by SPAEN .


Voices of Courage and Hope

SPAEN currently plans to create and publish a book of individual patient stories from different countries around the world – the “Voices of Courage and Hope”. The aim of the book is to illustrate how sharing patient experiences and being part of a patient group can help improve the lives of sarcoma patients no matter where they live. By collecting and sharing those stories, SPAEN intends to inspire other patients to join their local patient group for support and information and to demonstrate how empowering it is to be part of the sarcoma patient community.
More to come!