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400 delegates from around the globe attended the fifth WIN Symposium, held in Paris, July 10-12. This year’s overarching theme was “Personalized Cancer Therapy: From Innovation to Implementation”. Thirty experts from academia, pharma, diagnostics, bio-informatics companies, and regulatory agencies presented and discussed their views on how new genomic and proteomic technologies and new targeted therapies affect the way individual cancer patients are treated, as well as the hurdles for implementation of personalized cancer therapy in innovative clinical trials and daily practice.
Individual patients’ tumors are usually driven by a combination of aberrant genes and their gene products, often encompassing mutated or re-arranged genes. The combinations of oncogenic drivers frequently differ between patients having tumors of the same histology and even within the same patient at different time points. Several presenters pointed to the trend of increasing reliance on biomarkers and molecular diagnostics to detect and assess genetic aberrations in tumor tissue. Some of these tests, which usually test for a single abnormality, have already demonstrated their value for the prognosis of patients with cancer and the identification upfront of patients who are likely or less likely to respond to a certain therapy, including several targeted therapies for colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and melanoma. It is likely that further fragmentation of such histologically defined tumor types along genetic/proteomic lines will occur, similar to what is happening in non-small cell lung cancer. More “actionable” genetic aberrations than currently exploited are on the horizon.
These availability of rapidly increasing numbers or targeted agents, validated biomarkers and molecular diagnostics, and the emergence of whole-genome sequencing as a new tool, increase the complexity of cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatment, as Dr. Richard L. Schilsky, Chairman of WIN Consortium’s Scientific Advisory Board, pointed out in his concluding remarks. With the implementation in trials and daily practice of increasing numbers of diagnostic tests of increasing complexity, massive amounts of data will need to be processed to provide decision support to patients and treating physicians. Several bio-informatics companies and organizations have therefore entered the cancer arena to address the issues in bio-informatics in oncology.
Webcasts WIN Symposium on www.winsymposium.orgVideos on http://ecancer.org/conference/videos/328-win-symposium-2013.php
The next WIN Symposium is scheduled to take place in Paris, June 23-24, 2014.