Sunday, April 26, 2015

3 Realizations from the AACR (American Association for Cancer Research) Annual Meeting

In April, one of the biggest gatherings of cancer researchers met in Philadelphia to discuss the current progress in the field. I was lucky enough to attend most of the conference this year, and three things stuck in my head:

1. The number of attendees and intellectual power focusing on cancer research is truly inspirational. Seeing rooms full of thousands of highly trained scientists and doctors dedicating their careers to solve this challenge exudes a sense of hope that this menacing disease can be conquered.

2. It surprised me how pivotal the role of cell biology is to the future of cancer treatment. The seeming tidal wave of good results from immunotherapies and T-Cell therapies is almost too good to be true-- and promises to usher in a new class of treatments for patients.

3. Even the most astonishing new technology or discovery takes time to reach the market. 15 years seems to be typical even of the biggest success stories. So while killer applications like adoptive T-Cell therapy and percision medicine (informed by gene sequencing) were widely published over a decade ago-- they are just now reaching the inflection point for clinical impact.