On Friday, I headed uptown to attend the Miami Breast Cancer Conference (#MBCC14) held at the Fontainebleau Hotel and organised by the Physicians Education Resource (PER). It was fun to grab a local Deco Bike and furiously cycle over 45 blocks in under half an hour – most probably the only attendee who arrived on two wheels that day!
Now, I haven’t attended this event since it was at the Loews Hotel in midtown, which was rather low key and fairly small. Certainly there wasn’t a big exhibition area then, as far I can recall. Fast forward a decade on and the event is MUCH bigger, with an excellent Academic panel and an interesting mix of didactic talks and case studies. The stage setting is also much more impressive, as you can see in the photo right.
To give you some basic background, the audience polls at the beginning of the first day were really useful to put things into context:
- The majority of attendees (88%) were physicians (mix of Community medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgical oncologists)
- 49% of respondents treated 1–5 patients with breast cancer per week
- 25% of respondents treated 6–10 patients with breast cancer per week
Being a scientist, and having missed the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) due to an overlap with the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in December, I was particularly keen to catch up on the new developments in genomics and molecular profiling, with early morning talks from Drs Lance Liotta (George Mason Univ) and Debu Tripathy (USC). There were also updates on neoadjuvant treatment for breast cancer by Drs Kathy Albain (Loyola) and Hal Burstein (Dana Farber). Neoadjuvant therapy prior to surgery is an area that is seeing many new trials and potential therapies emerge.
In today’s post, the attention is on the important topic molecular profiling. This is something I believe we will see much more of going forward. Two separate articles will follow on personalised treatment in advanced breast cancer (including TNBC) and also on neoadjuvant developments.
Genomics can sometimes be a bit of a dry topic, at least to some people, as anyone who has sat through slide after slide of those fuzzy green-red assays in systems biology sessions at AACR will attest. This time, much to my pleasant surprise, it was different…
What I heard blew my mind and changed the way I think about some aspects of breast cancer.
Now I’m not joking or trying to hype progress here, but sometimes you experience an epiphany when you least expect it.
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