Brussels, 3 July 2017 – The Breast International Group (BIG), one of the largest international not-for-profit organisations for academic breast cancer research groups from around the world, is pleased to announce the election of its new Executive Board. It went into effect on 1 July 2017.
BIG’s Executive Board is expanding from nine to 15 members to include more cancer disciplines and represent better the geographies covered by BIG.
The expanded board now embodies a broad range of cancer expertise such as medical oncology, gynaecological oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, biostatistics and clinical trials methodology, translational research and business. From a geographic point of view, BIG constitutes a network of about 60 academic collaborative groups from Europe, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australasia. These entities are tied to several thousand specialised hospitals and research centres worldwide. Since being founded in 1999, BIG has run over 50 clinical trials under its umbrella, several of which are considered landmark studies and practice-changing.
BIG’s Executive Board, chaired by Dr. Martine Piccart and supported by BIG Headquarters in Brussels (Belgium), is BIG’s main scientific authority. As of 1 July 2017, the BIG Executive Board is represented by the following world-class breast cancer specialists:
- Martine Piccart-Gebhart (BIG Chair), Oncologist – IJB (Institut Jules Bordet – Belgium, www.bordet.be)
- Michael Gnant (BIG Treasurer), Surgeon – ABCSG (Austrian Breast & Colorectal Cancer Study Group – Austria, www.abcsg.at)
- Fabrice André, Oncologist – Unicancer (France, www.unicancer.fr/unicancer)
- José Baselga, Oncologist – SOLTI (Spain, www.gruposolti.org/en)
- Judith Bliss, Biostatistician – ICR-CTSU (The Institute of Cancer Research, London, Clinical Trials & Statistics Unit – UK, www.icr.ac.uk/our-research/our-research-centres/clinical-trials-and-statistics-unit)
- David Cameron, Oncologist – EORTC BCG (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Breast Cancer Group – UK, www.eortc.org/event/breast-cancer-group-meeting)
- Boon Chua, Radiation oncologist – TROG & ANZBCTG (Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group & Australia & New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group – Australia, www.trog.com.au, www.anzbctg.org)
- Marco Colleoni, Oncologist – IBCSG (International Breast Cancer Study Group – Switzerland, www.ibcsg.org/Pages/default.aspx)
- Angelo Di Leo, Oncologist – IBCSG (International Breast Cancer Study Group – Switzerland, www.ibcsg.org/Pages/default.aspx)
- Karen Gelmon, Oncologist – CCTG (Canadian Cancer Trial Group – Canada, www.ctg.queensu.ca)
- Sibylle Loibl, Gynaecologist – GBG (German Breast Group – Germany, www.germanbreastgroup.de)
- Shinji Ohno, Surgeon – JBCRG (Japan Breast Cancer Research Group – Japan, www.jbcrg.jp/en)
- Aleix Prat, Oncologist – SOLTI (Spain, www.gruposolti.org/en)
- Ander Urruticoechea, Oncologist – GEICAM (Spanish Breast Cancer Group – Spain, www.geicam.org)
BIG’s Executive Board represents the leadership of the organisation, reporting to the General Assembly of all member groups. It is primarily responsible for proposing, shaping and reviewing BIG’s strategies and related objectives, and for ensuring the long-term viability of the association.
Executive Board members are expected to commit considerable time and effort to the association and to work with BIG Headquarters and other governance bodies in carrying out the BIG mission and strategic plan. There is no monetary compensation for the function.
One of the most essential qualities of the members of BIG’s Executive Board is to have a strong code of ethics to ensure that clinical trials and research programmes under the BIG umbrella are conducted to the highest quality standards and BIG principles of research conduct.
Both strong advocates for, and leaders of international research collaborations, Dr. Martine Piccart and Dr. Aron Goldhirsch co-founded BIG in 1996, which became an international not-for-profit organisation under Belgian law in 1999. When the decision was taken to expand the Executive Board, Dr. Goldhirsch chose to step down, thus giving more opportunity for the next generation to drive BIG forward.
Dr. Martine Piccart: “By expanding its Executive Board, BIG recognises that the ‘global cancer problem’ has particularities in each region and country. We are constantly pursuing closer relationships with our members outside of Western Europe. I am very encouraged by the new composition of the Executive Board. I believe it will bring a renewed dynamic and a strengthened strategic thinking to the organisation. This is essential for the future of BIG as an academic and patient-centred organisation. Finally, I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Aron Goldhirsch, with whom I started BIG some 20 years ago. Thanks to his tireless determination and a strong collaborative spirit, we were able to make significant progress in the field of breast cancer research and the development of cures.”
BIG’s Mission & Vision
BIG’s mission is to facilitate and accelerate breast cancer research at international level, by stimulating cooperation between its members and other academic networks, and collaborating with, but working independently from, the pharmaceutical industry.
BIG provides a forum for its member groups to:
combine resources and expertise to conduct research to advance knowledge of the disease and to optimally serve patients
- establish clinical and translational research priorities
- reduce the unnecessary duplication of efforts
- obtain study results efficiently
- collaborate with other scientific networks
- develop models of collaboration with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry that preserve scientific independence.
BIG against breast cancer
‘BIG against breast cancer’ is the lay-public name of the Breast International Group (BIG) used for outreach and fundraising activities. To support our mission and ultimately find a cure, it is essential to secure substantial financial resources for our academic research. This will lead to more meaningful results and benefits for patients. BIG against breast cancer therefore aims to reach out beyond the scientific community to potential donors and partners, explaining to them the importance of BIG’s research and engaging them in our fight against breast cancer.
To facilitate awareness about BIG, two logos were created sharing the same graphic element and colours. The “Breast International Group” name and logo are used with scientific audiences, and the “BIG against breast cancer” name and logo are used in communications with donors, supporters and partners.
About Breast International Group (BIG)
The Breast International Group (BIG) is an international not-for-profit organisation for academic breast cancer research groups from around the world, based in Brussels, Belgium.
Global collaboration is crucial to make significant advances in breast cancer research, reduce unnecessary duplication of effort, share data, contribute to the faster development of better treatments, and increase the likelihood of cures for patients. Therefore, BIG facilitates breast cancer research at international level, by stimulating cooperation between its members and other academic networks, and collaborating with, but working independently from, the pharmaceutical industry.
Founded by leading European opinion leaders in 1999, BIG now constitutes a network of about 60 collaborative groups from Europe, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australasia. These entities are tied to several thousand specialised hospitals and research centres worldwide. More than 30 clinical trials are run or are under development under the BIG umbrella at any one time. BIG also works closely with the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the North American Breast Cancer Groups (NABCG), so that together they act as a strong integrating force in the breast cancer research arena.
For more information, visit www.BIGagainstbreastcancer.org.
 Dr. Martine Piccart, Chair of BIG, Professor of Oncology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and Head of Medicine at the Institut Jules Bordet – Brussels, Belgium), past President of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), Member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine, past President of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC))
 Dr. Aron Goldhirsch, former Vice-chair of BIG, Director of the Breast Health Programme at the European Institute of Oncology (EIO, Milan, Italy), Chairman of the Scientific Committee and member of the Foundation Council International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG)