Dr Max Wicha is the 2016 recipient of the AACR Distinguished Lectureship in Breast Cancer Research. At the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS16) he gave his award lecture, “Targeting Breast Cancer Stem Cells: Challenges and Opportunities.”
SABC16 Dr Max Wicha Award Lecture
As the AACR press release notes, “This lectureship recognizes an outstanding scientist whose work has inspired or has the potential to inspire new perspectives on the etiology, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of breast cancer.”
Dr Wicha is a pioneer in the field of cancer stem cells, and is Director Emeritus of the University of Michigan Comprenhensive Cancer Center and a co-founder of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OMED).
Targeting cancer stem cells is an area I expect we will hear a lot more about, particularly in breast cancer. Dr Wicha kindly spoke to BSB after his award lecture, which was one of my highlights of SABCS16.
In case you missed it, do check out the post from the 2016 EORTC-NCI-AACR Molecular Targets Symposium in Munich that featured Dr Mina Bisell (Berkeley), who was a previous recipient of the AACR Distinguished Lectureship in Breast Cancer Research award in 2012 (Link.)
This is the fifth in our series of expert interviews from the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
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At the European Cancer Conference (ECC 2015) held in Vienna recently, a number of promising targets emerged along with new drugs in development in several different tumour types. Not all of them were from big Pharma – some were from up and coming young biotechs that will be worth watching out for.
In this first part of our ‘New Drugs on the Horizon’ mini series, we chose four interesting and largely positive studies to highlight and discuss in-depth.
In the past, there were many negative trials to pick over and ponder why they didn’t quite pan out. After all, it’s relatively easy to be an armchair critic and hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Picking only four from the many promising choices of trials presented this year available turned out to be quite hard given there were many that caught our attention – a bit like choosing only one of four out of the many schnaps to sample locally!
Today’s review looks at four very different drugs and approaches in early development from Pfizer, Stemcentrx and Ignyta – they include encouraging early data on both small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), as well as antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).
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A decade or so ago, the annual conferences for the European Congress of Clinical Oncologists (ECCO) and European Society of Medical Oncologists (ESMO) were considered convenient dumping grounds for negative or failed trials. This was largely because they received much less attention than their big brother, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
In the last few years, this trend has shifted with excellent clincial and scientific data being presented at both meetings – they alternate as hosts each year – under the European Cancer Congress (ECC) umbrella.
Just to confuse a global audience long used to referring to the meetings as ESMO and ECCO, while the logical Twitter hashtag might appear to be #ESMO14 and #ECCO15, respectively, based on the standard nomenclature of conference acronym followed by the year, the vagaries of European politics mean we end up with… #ECC2015.
It will be interesting to see how they compete for attention because this hashtag signal will be dirty (more than one usage) and noisy (many disparate voices) with the European Curling Championship, a European Cheerleader Convention and another on e-cigarettes and vaping, all seemingly using the same moniker!
Still, what many readers are really eager to learn though, is this a great, middling, or poor year for exciting new data in the field of cancer research and what can we expect to hear about in Vienna later this month?
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