C3 Board Chair Nancy Roach and C3 staffer Kate Murphy and were part of the Scientist-Survivor Program at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting in Washington this week.
Nancy was a mentor for a group of patient advocates who were attending AACR . For Kate this was a third AACR Annual Meeting. She presented a poster about C3 and its work.
This year’s meeting theme Conquering Cancer Through Discovery Research led to more than 700 presentations and 6,500 posters presenting key basic and translational research.
Five days of intense listening, thinking, and discussion started early and ended late, but both Kate and Nancy left the meeting with new energy and greatly increased hope that cancer science in the laboratory can be successfully translated into real prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer.
Among some ideas that they heard during the meeting:
- Science has given us a much better understanding of the many diseases that are called cancer.
- Genes, pathways in the cell, and networks of pathways are being identified where cancer can be targeted and defeated.
- Colorectal cancer is at least three different diseases with wide variations in how it appears in each individual patient.
- Critical points to attack cancer are preventing it, finding it early, and keeping it from spreading beyond the original tumor.
- Clinical trials can be — and are being — designed that can produce answers to what treatment is effective for which patients much faster.
Besides an opportunity to be part of the meeting the Scientist-Survivor Program provides additional presentations and discussions with leading cancer researchers for its participants along with many opportunities to talk with other cancer research advocates and share their work.
Discussing what we have learned from sequencing over 185,000 genes in 100 cancers during a Plenary session for entire AACR meeting, Dr. Bert Vogelstein, who directs the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics at Johns Hopkins pointed out:
- We “kind of understand cancer” right now.
- There are probably no more “big” cancer genes to discover.
- The challenge is to use the knowledge we have right now to help patients.
The cure of cancer is within our grasp. We just need creative ways to develop new therapies or early detection.
As Dr. Donald S. Coffey from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine told the Scientist-Survivor group in a talk What is Cancer,
Think and ask questions.
That is exactly what C3′s research advocates are doing.