Eine wissenschaftliche Perspektive auf den Russisch-ukrainischen Krieg

Finding Opportunity Amidst Adversity: A Scientific Journey in the Midst of the Russia/Ukraine Conflict

Embracing Challenges, Seeking Solutions in Gynecological Oncology

Doing rigorous science is never easy. But when upheaval and uncertainty abound, individuals often find themselves facing unforeseen obstacles that test their resilience and determination.

Olga Bodriagova’s odyssey to ASCO 2023 is a testament to the unyielding human spirit, transcending the barriers of geography and conflict to pursue knowledge and advance oncology research. Hailing from Ukraine, a country grappling with the fallout of conflict and geopolitical tensions, Olga’s aspiration to attend ASCO initially seemed like an unattainable dream. But, undeterred by logistical complexities and financial constraints, she sought alternative avenues to participate in the premier oncology conference. This is the story of how.

A Glimpse Into Life Amidst the Russia/Ukraine Conflict

The Russia/Ukraine conflict has profoundly impacted daily life for Olga and her colleagues, presenting numerous challenges in conducting scientific research and meeting basic needs. From navigating cuts to essential services like electricity and internet connectivity to facing the constant threat of violence and displacement, Ukrainian scientists persevere despite adversity. Yet, amidst these challenges, Olga finds solace and purpose in her work—a beacon of hope during the darkness.

The Road Less Traveled

For Olga, the prospect of attending ASCO 2023 in person posed significant challenges. With travel logistics complicated by the Russian conflict in her beloved homeland of Ukraine-and financial constraints looming large-the in-person path to conference participation seemed inaccessible. However, determined to stay abreast of the latest advancements in oncology and contribute to the field, Olga refused to be deterred. Instead, she embraced the opportunity for remote access to the conference, recognizing it as a viable alternative to traditional attendance.

Adapting to a New Reality

Olga’s decision to participate in ASCO remotely proved to be a transformative experience. By leveraging the virtual platform offered by the conference, she gained access to a wealth of knowledge and insights—all from her home in Ukraine. Despite the time zone differences and the hardships of her surroundings, Olga’s dedication to her craft remained unwavering. Embracing the flexibility afforded by remote participation, she seized the opportunity to engage with the latest research and developments in oncology, demonstrating her commitment to staying at the forefront of her field.

Olga reflects on this newfound approach, made possible by an adaptive global response to COVID: "We have this online registration opportunity which I completely utilized during the last 3 years, registering for ESGO and ESMO Congresses. … You just pay only the online registration fee, and it is easier to organize your time." This shift to virtual platforms by the scientific community not only offered cost-effective alternatives, but it also provided greater flexibility in scheduling, enabling Olga to balance her professional commitments with the challenges of daily life amidst the ongoing hardships of conflict.

From Dream to Reality

Ever the consummate scientist, as Olga immersed herself in the virtual proceedings of ASCO 2023, she recognized the potential to make a meaningful contribution to the field of oncology. Inspired by the wealth of information presented, Olga undertook her own journey of discovery, delving into the latest advancements in gynecological malignancies.

Collaborating closely with her colleagues at Fortrea, she meticulously analyzed over 300 sources, synthesizing key insights and distilling them into a comprehensive editorial. As the lead author of the paper, Olga’s expertise and dedication shone through, delivering a valuable contribution to the scientific community in service of the ultimate stakeholders in gynecological oncology research: patients.

Key Insights From ASCO 2023

Olga’s editorial at ASCO 2023 shed light on recent advances in the treatment of gynecological malignancies, distilling key findings from the conference. Highlights included promising results from the RUBY phase III trial, which demonstrated the efficacy of dostarlimab in combination with chemotherapy for endometrial cancer patients.

Additionally, Olga highlighted alternative treatment approaches being explored in early-phase studies, such as the OATH trial investigating dual hormonal blockade for endometrial cancer. The editorial also underscored the growing interest in antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) as a personalized therapy approach, with promising results reported in patients with recurrent endometrial cancer.

Agility, Ingenuity, Resilience

Despite the challenges posed by the Russia/Ukraine conflict, Olga's journey to ASCO 2023 serves as a testament to the power of resilience and ingenuity in the face of adversity. By refusing to let obstacles stand in her way, Olga demonstrated the unwavering determination and resourcefulness that define Fortrea's approach to scientific inquiry. Her story serves as an inspiration to all who face challenges in pursuit of their goals, underscoring the importance of perseverance and adaptability in the pursuit of excellence.

Reflecting on her experience, Olga shares: "During the last 2 years, we faced many issues with cuts of electricity, heating, internet, phone connection, water-those basic things we never noticed before. We developed a habit of charging our phones and laptops each time we have electricity. We also acquired devices of uninterruptible power supply, bought Starlinks to ensure internet connection and we keep reserves of water, food and candles."

A Journey of Inspiration and Discovery

In conclusion, Olga Bodriagova's journey to ASCO 2023 exemplifies the transformative power of perseverance and ingenuity in the face of adversity. Through her unwavering commitment to her craft, community and her willingness to adapt to changing circumstances, Olga not only overcame significant challenges but also made a meaningful contribution to the field of gynecological oncology. Her story serves as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the potential for discovery, even in the most challenging of times. She embodies the Fortrea spirit, and we are grateful she is part of our family.

Take the Next Step

To explore the full breadth of insights from ASCO 2023, including Olga’s editorial and the latest advancements in oncology research, we invite you to access the paper here. Join us in celebrating the indomitable spirit of individuals like Olga, whose dedication to their work inspires us all to persevere in the face of adversity.

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