Posted: April 2017
By Kristina Wasson-Blader, PhD, ELS
For the 17th year, leading experts in the biology, diagnosis, and treatment of lung cancer convened in Santa Monica, California, from February 22nd to 25th to attend the Targeted Therapies of the Treatment of Lung Cancer meeting. “This important meeting brings lung cancer experts from around the world to exchange ideas and develop new clinical trials to improve the outcomes of patients with lung cancer,” says Ramaswamy Govindan, MD.
Sponsored by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), the annual Targeted Therapies of the Treatment of Lung Cancer Meeting provides an informal setting to stimulate active discussions on data from studies that range from basic science to ongoing clinical trials for treating patients with lung cancer. “The Santa Monica meeting provides a unique opportunity for thoracic oncology investigators from around the world to informally discuss their latest research and network with colleagues,” says Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, IASLC Chief Executive Officer. “Many of the scientific presentations later made at larger meetings around the globe are first discussed at this event.”
This year’s meeting focused on new ideas and developments in lung cancer research, including the latest advances in immunotherapy, immunotherapeutic combinations, and biomarkers for immunotherapy as well as target-delineated therapies, including EGFR and ALK with an increasing focus on acquired resistance. Dr. Govindan notes, “Over the years, we have seen the Santa Monica meeting evolve from a meeting mainly focusing on targeted therapies to one that is increasingly allotting more time to discuss immunotherapy of lung cancer.”
Suresh Ramalingam, MD, a co-chair of this year’s meeting, says, “The meeting highlighted all the exciting developments in immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and emerging new anticancer agents for lung cancer. The quality of presentations was outstanding and, most notably, the discussion sessions were deeply insightful. This year’s meeting also had a fantastic session for fellowship trainees to guide them on various aspects of career development.”
In attendance at this meeting were several IASLC fellows. This experience gives fellows the opportunity to interact with leading experts in lung cancer research. Kenichi Suda, MD, received one year of IASLC funding during 2015– 2016, and he presented results from his study at the recent Santa Monica meeting. “It is very rare that we can meet so many researchers who work on the forefront in the field of lung cancer research. I received feedback from attendees after my presentation, and I also had the opportunity to discuss another research project with other attendees while at dinners. These communications will be helpful as I expand my research program and look to develop collaborations.”
By providing this early platform for data discussions and review, IASLC plays an important leadership role in advancing research. This meeting also serves as a setting to identify new opportunities for collaboration and to strengthen existing collaborations among investigators at various academic institutions and in industry. Through the combination of organized but informal networking gatherings and formal data presentation sessions, the Targeted Therapies Meeting and its increasing focus on immunotherapy helps to facilitate discovery in the thoracic oncology research community. “Coverage and summaries of scientific meetings around the globe throughout the world is a core content area of IASLC Lung Cancer News,” notes Dr. Corey J. Langer, Editor. “The annual Targeted Therapies of the Treatment of Lung Cancer Meeting is comprehensive; it provides an important platform leading to continued international collaboration and scientific discovery so vital for the treatment of patients with lung cancer.” ✦