The highly anticipated 2014 ESPEN Congress delivered a diverse, multidisciplinary scientific program to more than 3000 delegates from 92 countries. Australia was well represented amongst both congress attendees and the accepted abstracts. Congratulations to both Suzie Ferrie from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and Gemma Collins, The Austin Hospital, Melbourne whose work was recognised amongst the ESPEN Best Abstract Awards – an outstanding achievement!
Amongst the standout hot topics was the presentation by Professor Alessandro Laviano, Sapienza University of Rome who summarised the evidence around optimal timing of nutrition support or fasting during chemo/radiotherapy. The take home key message is that while fasting to increase sensitivity to oncological therapies has been investigated in animal models, starvation may actually facilitate the selection of more aggressive cancer cells. As such, this approach cannot be applied to humans without detrimental effects.
Professor Vickie Baracos, University of Alberta was the first female researcher to be invited by the ESPEN committee to give the Sir David Cuthbertson Lecture. This invitation was a most worthy recognition of Professor Baracos’ landmark work in muscle and protein metabolism which has lead the field of study of body composition and chemotherapy toxicities.
Lastly, an extra special thank you to Maree Ferguson from Dietitian Connection for her entrepreneurial leadership in conceiving and organising the inaugural ESPEN Congress Study Tour and to all study tour participants for their collegiate and delightful travelling companionship.