The Life Raft Group, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, is pleased to announce that the second meeting of the NIH-LRG Virtual GIST Tumor Board was held on October 3, 2014.

Virtual GIST Tumor Board Purpose

The purpose of the Virtual GIST Tumor Board is to bring together leading experts to discuss pediatric/wild-type GIST cases, while serving as an educational resource for local physicians.

In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched an in-person clinic for the Pediatric GIST and Wild-type GIST community which brought together clinicians and scientific researchers from across the world to collaborate and learn more about this rare disease as well as to meet patients and their families firsthand. However, despite the surge of knowledge researchers have gained from this clinic, decreases in government funding have now reduced the number of in-person meetings held to once per year, with much needed additional staffing and resources becoming difficult to obtain.

The NIH-LRG Virtual GIST Tumor Board provides valuable access for patients and doctors who would ordinarily not be able to attend an in-person clinic due to resources or distance. The Virtual GIST Tumor Board not only provides local doctors with the most up-to-date treatment options, trials, and studies, it also encourages collaboration between GIST experts, ensuring the best care is offered to patients.

How the Review Works

The process is an augmentation of how virtual tumor review boards work. If selected, doctors of GIST patients are invited to log on and present their de-identified patient case to a panel of experts by using the internet, secure servers, and video conferencing software. The LRG uses cutting-edge technology to connect local treating physicians and their team with key GIST opinion leaders. Panelists will have real-time shared view access to radiology films and other necessary medical reports in order to review the case and provide advice.

For the second Virtual GIST Tumor Board, Wild-type* cases were reviewed from the United States, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Local treating physicians were accompanied by colleagues from their institutions who wished to be trained on how to manage and treat this disease more effectively.

How to Participate

If you would like to participate in the next Virtual GIST Tumor Board please contact Mildred Menos at or (973) 837-9092 x129 to receive an application form.

We are pleased to announce that the next Virtual GIST Tumor Board will take place in early 2015 and we will open case reviews to adult GIST.

*Note: Pediatric-like tumors are now being classified as SDH-deficient GIST. For ease of reference, we will refer to the formerly termed “pediatric GIST” and SDH-Deficient cases under the broad umbrella of Wild-type GIST.