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Improving cancer outcomes in older adults

Legs Kanning Prize 2023 granted to LIH scientist Dr Sophie Pilleron

19 January 2024 3minutes

On Thursday, January 18th 2024, Dr Sophie Pilleron, leader of the Ageing, Cancer, and Disparities (ACADI) research unit at the LIH Department of Precision Health, received the “Legs Kanning Prize” from the association “Action Lions Vaincre le Cancer”, recognising her remarkable research achievements in the field of cancer in older adults.

The Legs Kanning prize, which amounts to EUR 7,500, was conferred during the 17th annual “Legs Kanning” conference, which took place at the headquarters of the “Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL)”.

Following an introductory speech by Mr Cédric Weisse, Head of Individuals at BIL, and Prof Marc Diederich, president of the “Action Lions Vaincre la Cancer”, Dr Pilleron took the floor to present her research in a talk entitled “Personnes âgées et cancer : faisons mieux!” (Older adults and cancer: let’s do better!).

In her presentation, Dr Pilleron explained the importance of cancer research focusing especially on older adults. Indeed, older adults with cancer are known to have poorer cancer survival probabilities than middle-aged adults. The ACADI research activities therefore focus particularly on the key moments where age-related disparities are likely to occur, namely around the diagnostic and pre-diagnostic phase, as well as the treatment decision-making phase.

Older adults are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer than middle-aged adults for many reasons, including the fact that they are no longer targeted by screening programmes, and physicians are reluctant to propose invasive diagnostic procedures. Moreover, older patients are also commonly excluded from clinical trials and their diagnosis and treatment is further complicated by their diverse health and fitness status, as well as by the presence of age-related comorbidities. All these factors are associated with a higher risk of complications, treatment toxicity and, ultimately, poorer outcomes including poorer quality of life and early death”, explains Dr Pilleron. “Our group is therefore committed to investigating these various phases through the FNR-funded REDICO project, which will leverage several approaches including interviews with patients and healthcare professionals and the application of machine learning methods to analyse patient data. Ultimately, we aim to propose and develop concrete recommendations and training to benefit both healthcare professionals and patients”, she adds.

I am deeply honoured to have been awarded the Legs Kanning prize, which is a wonderful recognition of my team’s work and commitment to this often overlooked but critical area of cancer care. I would like to thank the Legs Kanning committee for their trust and support and I look forward to pursuing our activities for the benefit of the many older adults with cancer in Luxembourg and beyond over the next years.

concludes Dr Pilleron.

The activities of the ACADI research group are funded through a 5-year ATTRACT fellowship to Dr Pilleron from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR).

Scientific Contact

  • Sophie
    Group Leader, Ageing, Cancer, and Disparities (ACADI) research Unit



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