ASCO Kicks Off 50th Annual Meeting

The theme of this year's meeting is "Science and Society" and will highlight the role of clinicians who treat cancer.

As ASCO celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding and its Annual Meeting, oncology professionals from around the world will gather to learn about, debate, and discuss exciting and practice changing advances in oncology.

“Throughout ASCO’s first 50 years, we have collaboratively made life-prolonging and life-saving advances across all areas of oncology,” said 2013-2014 ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “At the 2014 Annual Meeting, we will hear clinical and scientific results that promise to broaden and accelerate global progress against cancer.”

The theme of this year’s Meeting, chosen by Dr. Hudis, is “Science and Society.” This theme focuses on opportunities for the community of clinicians and researchers to lead all of society in the quest for knowledge and insight. It highlights the unique role that clinicians who treat cancer can play in closing knowledge gaps that can develop between those who work in science and those who govern and lead society.

As the depth of our scientific understanding increases and the number of effective therapeutic options multiplies, there will be a growing need to communicate clinically important advances with precision and to convey the benefits of societal investment in science. Even within the increasingly specialized medical professional community, there is a growing need for ongoing and efficient communications so that everyone can keep up with advances in many areas of cancer prevention and treatment.

“Thanks to decades of societal investment, the problem of malignancy has never been better understood than it is now, and the number of thoughtful experiments to test rational interventions that capitalize on our growing understanding of all levels of biology has never been greater,” Dr. Hudis said. “Accelerating the pace of progress requires even greater long-term investment and even more societal support and vision. To accomplish this, we must continue to educate all of society, and I believe the oncology community has a rare opportunity to do this passionately.”

Meeting Program

ASCO’s Education Program reflects the concerns, priorities, and issues that affect every oncology professional. Look for multidisciplinary sessions that emphasize collaborative care in the management of different cancers, topics relevant to daily practice, tools for delivering high-quality care, global health challenges in oncology, and understanding molecular pathways and genomics.

“We have a wonderful group of talks this year,” said 2013-2014 Cancer Education Committee Chair Gini Fleming, MD, of the University of Chicago Medical Center. “In almost every track, attendees will find a balance of overview and introductory content as well as more in-depth presentations,” accommodating learning at every level of expertise, particularly in emerging and rapidly changing disciplines such as immunology and genomics.

Several themes emerged organically from the Education Program, which reflect the prevailing interests and concerns in the contemporary practice of oncology. Attendees will find discussions of cost of care and value integrated into many sessions; ample coverage of hot-button issues, including genomics, global practice and research, environmental and behavioral contributors to cancer (including obesity, vitamins, tobacco, and inflammation); and a look ahead to new scientific horizons and the future of cancer care.

A record 5,530 abstracts were submitted this year, with more than 2,900 selected for presentation in Oral Abstract Sessions, Clinical Science Symposia, or Poster Sessions—a testament to the robustness of clinical cancer research and the exciting advances occurring in labs and practices across the globe. In addition, more than 2,200 abstracts were selected for online publication.

According to 2013-2014 Chair of ASCO’s Scientific Program Committee Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, 2014 is a very competitive year, “with a record-breaking number of abstracts submitted, and I was extremely impressed with the overall quality of the abstracts.”

The Committee’s goal in selecting abstracts, he said, “is to make sure we have the most current, cutting-edge science that is also of the highest quality—this is what our members and attendees have come to expect from the ASCO Annual Meeting.”

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SOURCE: ASCO