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ASCO Annual Conference

Posted 6/3/2016

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  The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)'s annual conference is opening today in Chicago. It will last through next Tuesday, the 7th, and you can expect to hear and see cancer news over this week-end. Here is the link to the organization's website; if you scroll down a bit, there is a place on the right where you can click to read each day's summary.

    Here is what you need to remember: progress in cancer care is measured in baby steps, sometimes in very expensive baby steps (see yesterday's blog). There are occasionally giant steps that are greeted with celebration, think herceptin and Glevac, but they are rare. When you read or hear media reports, there is usually a lot of hype and inflation of the results. Don't believe it if something is presented in a way that suggests cancer will be cured by treatment X. The current biggest focus is immunotherapy and targeted therapies, and those drugs can be good indeed, but sometimes they fizzle, and they are only useful for individuals with very specific cancers and cell types. And they can be hugely expensive.

  From Fortune comes this helpful article about what to know as you follow the week-ends's events:

Cancer drug innovation is the name of the game.
On Friday, more than 30,000 cancer doctors, scientists, public officials, patient advocates, investors, and life science executives will descend upon Chicago’s cavernous McCormick Place convention center for the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) annual meeting (June 3-7).

ASCO has ballooned into one of the most—if not the single most—significant biopharma convention in recent years. Wall Street and trade group-sponsored events like the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) convention may offer more pizzazz and opportunities to hobnob and announce deals (not to mention interesting discussions on the overall trends in the life sciences). There are also plenty of other cancer conferences where companies announce important clinical trial results. But ASCO’s sheer size, combined with biopharma’s recent laser-like focus on cancer treatments and immunotherapies, makes the convention stand out.

There are lots of ways to get information about ASCO. If you have breast cancer, once very good one is to follow along with Living Beyond Breast Cancer:


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