I have had the privilege to attend many scientific and medical congresses this past year, and my belief from listening to many presentations is that drug development innovation comes from understanding basic biology, then applying this knowledge.

Lisa Coussens (UCSF) at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) provided a good example of how scientific knowledge is being translated into medicine and applied to drug development.

In her plenary presentation, she outlined how our understanding of the biology of macrophages and the importance they play in breast cancer may lead to new drug targets.  As an example of this, she showed pre-clinical animal work on the Plexxikon drug PLX3397.  A human phase 1b/II clinical trial will start in the near future.

I have aggregated some of the live tweets from the session using Storify.  Social media can be a powerful tool to share highlights and top-line messages with those not at meetings, as well as have a real-time conversation with those in the same session. It was disappointing that the lack of wifi in meeting rooms prevented many international scientists and researchers from sharing their insights.

I look forward to watching the development of PLX3397, and am sure that we will see more drug development targeting macrophages.  Coussens presentation was outstanding and the highlight of SABCS for me.

 What role do macrophages play in breast cancer?

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