25th Anniversay of the Center For Vascular Malformations


The Center for vascular malformations of the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc in Brussels celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday 17 September. An interesting program during the day, chaired by Dr. Laurence Boon, was followed by a celebratory dinner and a soirée dansante, all held in the stylish ambiance of the Scandinavian School of Brussels in Waterloo. The day was attended by many physicians and patients and their families, a good part of which has been closely involved in the development of the Center.


The day started with a session dedicated to physicians. Several scientists and doctors gave presentations about the treatment of vascular anomalies and the latest developments in the field, after which they had a discussion about some clinical cases. 



In the afternoon, several patients shared their stories about living with an angioma. The value of the Center could not be better illustrated. A young women told about the detrimental impact the disease had on her childhood, making her feel isolated, lonely and depressed. Treatment at the Center gave her back a normal, happy life. Two girls told how they met through VASCAPA, the patient organisation, and how important it is to have a friend with the same experiences. A farther talked about the long search for a clinic able to treat his young boy. He finally found the Center where the boy received treatment that ameliorated the disease greatly. The father now is an active member of VASCAPA and helps other patients and their parents to get informed.



The patients and their families were informed about the latest developments in the treatment of vascular anomalies by Dr. Boon. She emphasized the importance of research on the disease that has led to great progress in the treatment. The Center has contributed to a number of these advances by it’s research activities that are performed at the de Duve Institute. The day program was closed with some reflections by representatives of rare disease organizations on how rare diseases like a severe vascular anomaly are taken charge of. A delightful dinner and an enjoyable soirée dansante marked the end of a memorable day. Un délicieux dîner et une agréable soirée dansante ont marqué la fin d'une journée mémorable.


The Center for vascular anomalies was founded in 1991 by Prof Romain Vanwijck. He created a multidisciplinairy clinic, dedicated to the care for patients with vascular anomalies, who were at the time often sent from one physician to another. In 25 years the Center has become a well-known clinic, attracting patients from all over Belgium as well as from many other countries. Almost 2000 consultations are performed each year. 

Vascular anomalies, better known as angiomas, are malformations or tumors of capillaries, veins, arteries and lymphatics that can occur everywhere in the body. Due to the diversity of the anomalies and their effects, treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach. The team of the Center for vascular anomalies offers all clinical disciplines necessary for patient care, thanks to its more than 20 specialists, among which dermatologists, paediatrics, surgeons, ophthalmologists. In collaboration with the Laboratory of Human Molecular Genetics of the de Duve Institute, the center also performs research focused on the molecular-genetic bases of vascular anomalies. The research aims to improve the understanding of the disease and to develop better curative therapies. The Center collaborates with the Vascular Anomalies Center at the Children's Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston. In addition, it takes social initiatives for the benefit of patients and their families. Five years ago, at the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the Center and a number of its patients together founded VASCAPA. The center also published “Petit Pierre et la tache mystérieuse”, a booklet with the answers to the most frequent questions of patients and their family members.