On January 21st, just a week after President Barack Obama’s announced the creation of a national moonshot on cancer, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AACR) and the Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) held a conference on Cancer Precision Medicine: Big Ideas in Research, Treatment, and Prevention Meeting in Philadelphia. CCSA’s Senior Scientist Megan King attended and summarizes the meeting below.
Margaret Foti, CEO of the AACR, opened the afternoon conference that featured a panel of experts from six Pennsylvania cancer centers including Dario Altieri, Chi Dang, Nancy Davidson, Richard Fisher, Stephen Grupp, William Hait, Karen Knudsen, and George Prendergast. This was high level discussion on precision medicine and all things cancer related from current research areas and ways of working to clinical trial accrual issues and a wonderful patient story. The large meeting room at the College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Mütter Museum was packed. There was notable media presence, lots of audience participation, and a catered reception afterwards.
News & Tidbits
Areas of particular interest in 2016:
CRISPR-Cas9 method for genome editing, fecal transplants to change a non-responder to a responder, culturing patient derived explants in the laboratory, an assay for 500 kinases, immune checkpoint inhibitors, CAR T-cell immunotherapy, and aromatase inhibitors.
Other areas of interest:
What can be learned from smokers who don’t get cancer and from people over 80 years who don’t have disease; finding the line between detection vs. over-detection; making a paradigm shift to proving safety before use (e-cigarettes for example); combining new methods with older therapies; other areas of precision medicine besides genetic e.g., surgery, devices, and risk assessment; relaxing age limits and lowering costs to increase cancer trial accrual; and alternative ways of doing research such as the “acaprenurial” (half academic/half entrepreneurial) staff mix at the Lankenau Institute and scientists/clinicians working closely at Penn.
Dr. Hait mentioned the Disease Interception Manifesto: Cancer is always preceded by premalignancy. Predict and prevent!