Scientists and clinicians from around the world will gather in Atlanta, Georgia next week at the American Association for Cancer Research's second International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development.
The conference is subtitled “Maximizing Opportunities for Personalized Treatment,” which reflects the potential of molecular diagnostics to provide new strategies for tailoring therapies to fit the needs of each cancer patient's unique biology.
Sessions will include discussions on the use of biomarkers – blood-borne molecules that indicate the presence of cancer – in clinical practice and new drug development, advanced imaging technologies for diagnosis, and the application of proteomics in personalized medicine. Novel findings to be reported at the conference include:
- Case studies that report how clinicians are already bridging the gap between basic cancer biology and personalized clinical care. Researchers present examples of how they fine-tuned the treatment of a number of different cancer types, including lung and ovarian, based on the genetic profile of the patient's tumors.
- A new acoustic sensor device that could make it possible to screen for multiple cancer biomarkers during a routine doctor's visit.
- A sensitive blood test for early-stage liver cancer that detects a gene altered by the molecular processes that lead to cancer.
- A blood-borne protein, present in 99 percent of lung cancer patients tested, could provide a target for a simple blood test for the disease.
“As genetic, proteomic, imaging, and other new technologies become more sophisticated and our knowledge of tumor biology and signaling pathways advances, so too does our ability to molecularly characterize individual tumors and identify germline determinants of patient prognosis and response,” said David Sidransky, M.D., meeting chairperson and professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Oncology, Pathology, Urology, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director, Head and Neck Cancer Research at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
“This new era of personalized medicine has brought with it great opportunities to enhance cancer drug development and improve patient care,” Dr. Sidransky said. “However, in order to harness this potential and maximize these opportunities, it is essential that there be an ongoing exchange of new ideas and information.”
In addition to symposia and poster sessions, the conference will include a keynote lecture by Victor E. Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University's Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Velculescu, a cancer genetics researcher, presents an address entitled “Blueprint of the Breast and Colorectal Cancer Genomes.”