History of GEIS

During the last quarter of 1993, in Zaragoza, it took place a monographic meeting on sarcomas, sponsored by the Spanish Medical Oncology Society (SEOM by its Spanish acronym) and coordinated by Dr. Trés. During this event it was determined the existence of an academic vacuum on Spain regarding cooperative efforts on this area of oncology.

Instead, in other countries nearby there were already established groups of specialists that shared their work and experience to advance the research and treatment of sarcomas. At the beginning of 1994, a small group of oncologists picked the gauntlet thrown at Zaragoza and got the ball rolling.

The first work meeting took place on the first quarter of 1994, managed by the Dr. Poveda, with the participation of members of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, (EORTC). The conference versed on the medical care of soft tissue sarcomas, and it served as the initial contact between Dr. Buesa, Dr. Poveda, Dr. López Pousa and Dr. Martín Broto, the founding members of GEIS.

The first meeting called by the core of the group took place on June 1994, in Palma de Mallorca, with the attendance of oncologists from 12 Spanish hospitals. Even before its creation, GEIS was already signalling its research calling. In fact, from the very beginning it was convened that the only way to defeat Sarcomas was through the implementation of well designed clinical trials carried out with the cooperation of many teams in different parts of Spain and the world. A proposal was submitted during this event for a trial on adjuvant chemotherapy on limb sarcomas. This trial, too ambitious for its time, did not prosper, but on its design the first teamwork relationships were forged.

On the group second meeting, that took place on October 1994 in Barcelona, the issue of starting other trials on advanced cases appeared. These trials were simpler and reachable with the means available to the group back then, and would had allowed us to consolidate the group and prove that we were able to cooperate as expected. Our first projects prospered and GEIS was the first group to provide to the oncology international community relevant data on the effect of high dosage of ifosfamide as a first line treatment on adult advanced sarcoma cases. This first trial projected the activity of the group outside the Spanish borders, and persuaded us that we were able to work as a team, carrying out successful complex clinical trials, out of reach for any single hospital.

From that moment on a number of facts followed suit that allowed GEIS to work on the present and look upon its future with high expectations. Close to twenty clinical trials of different kinds have been presented on international conferences and published on worldwide magazines of the highest academic standing. Today, the european oncology of sarcomas cannot be understood without the participation and efforts of GEIS, a group present on all international events of the specialty, and that takes part in cooperative projects with similar organizations from Italy, France, Germany or the Scandinavian countries.

The keeping of records on sarcoma has been another ongoing ambitious project since the beginnig of GEIS. Data bases available from the Internet have been designed, in a way so those could be agile, flexible, comfortable, completely confidential and useful for the different medical centers. There were few precedents in Spain of a recordkeeping as comprehensive as the one planned back then and the fact that it became a reality nowadays with thousand of entries coming from all over Spain allows us to extract very important conclusions regarding the status of sarcoma in our country.

Since December 1997 GEIS is considered a legal entity as a scientific association. The first elected board of directors was formed by Dr. Buesa as President, Dr. Poveda as Vicepresident, Dr. López Pousa as Treasurer and Dr. Martín Broto as Secretary. According to its founding chapter, GEIS is an open group to any oncologist willing to work actively on sarcoma.

In 2005 we took an important decision that changed the features of our group. Aware that cooperation with the goal of improving the expectations of our sarcoma patients is interesting not only to oncology specialists, we opened the doors of our group to orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, pathologists, radiotherapy oncologists, pediatrician oncologists, basic researchers, and others. We took this step with determination and conviction, but after plenty of consideration and not without taking into accounts the worries that professional diversification might undermine our objectives and procedures.

The current situation has convinced us of how beneficial that decision was, even more than we had dreamed of. The addition of different points of view regarding diagnosis, treatment and research on sarcoma has projected our group further on the international sphere and has allowed us to design and execute way more ambitious trials than before, expanding our work from the core of the basic clinical oncology towards other areas as surgery, radiotherapy, pediatrics or laboratory basic research techniques.