DENVER – “We all share one goal: conquering the lung and thoracic cancers that account for nearly a third of all cancer deaths worldwide – more than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined,” said Dr. Fred R. Hirsch, CEO of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), University of Colorado Cancer Center member, professor of Medicine and Pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Conference President. Hirsch opened the first daily press briefing with an overview of the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC).
“This meeting represents the combined urgency of all attendees to reach those goals,” he said. “Unprecedented collaboration and advanced science in medical research and treatment is critical to progress and success. IASLC is committed to guaranteeing that collaboration by creating engaging and rigorous conferences, timed to present leading discoveries in the fight against lung cancer.”
The four-day conference will cover a wide range of disciplines including more than 300 invited talks and 3,000 formal research studies and clinical trial results shared in oral, mini oral and poster sessions. Falling under the overall theme of “Fighting Lung Cancer,” the scientific abstracts are categorized into the following daily themes: Lung Cancer Prevention and Screening, Lung Cancer: A Women’s Disease and Science Drives Lung Cancer Advances
CT Screening Workshop Reveals Important Role Of Preventive Measures
CT screening is more important than ever as a prevention strategy to combat the global spread of lung cancer, said Dr. John Field, Chair, Screening Advisory Committee, IASLC and Personal Clinical Chair in Molecular Oncology, University of Liverpool.
The World Health Organization reported nearly 1.6 million lung cancer deaths worldwide in 2012 and the American Cancer Society estimates 158,000 Americans will die from lung cancer in 2015. There are more deaths from lung cancer than the combined figures from breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Prof. Field reported that the IASLC Third CT Screening Workshop, which was held Saturday at the WCLC discussed several major advances in lung cancer screening:
- The new CT screened nodule guidelines from the NELSON trial and the British Thoracic Society;
- Quality control for future screening programs;
- Cost-effectiveness modeling and how to select high-risk patients, using risk-prediction modeling, for future programs;
- Use of validated biomarkers of early disease to provide new data for clinical investigators to consider whether this approach will help identify high-risk subgroups for future screening.
“The future lies in early detection and currently this is only practical using a special type of X-ray called Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT),” said Professor Field. He pointed out that a landmark lung cancer screening trial in the U.S. in 2011, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), demonstrated a 20 percent mortality advantage in individuals in the CT screened arm.
China Still Faces Enormous Challenges to Overcome
Displaying more global collaboration, Dr. Hirsch introduced Dr. ChunXue Bai from Fudan University and the Shanghai Respiratory Research Institute in China, who presented results from the Joint IASLC-Chinese Society for Clinical Oncology-Chinese Alliance Against Lung Cancer Session.
Lung cancer incidence in China is twice as high as other industrialized and Asian countries. To combat this rise, Chinese researchers, physicians and public health officials have created and published a number of consensus research documents that provide important background to guide prevention and treatment efforts. This month, Dr. Bai reported, a special edition of Cancer is devoted to many of the lung cancer issues China faces.
According to Dr. Bai, the Alliance has established a project to set up hundreds of centers for diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary nodules, trained thousands of specialists to work on pulmonary nodules, and found and treated more tumors in their earlier stages.
“In China, the incidence and mortality of lung cancer are increasing and the best ways to slow these trends are through early diagnosis, the wide-spread adoption of low-dose CT scans and the increased use of endoscopic techniques to improve early diagnosis,” he said.
Patient Advocate Shows Empowerment Can Help Patient Outcomes While Influencing Research
Janet Freeman-Daily is a cancer patient advocate who used her own battle against lung cancer as a platform to help other patients better understand their own disease and better advocate for their own health. Doctors diagnosed her with stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in May 2011 and her cancer metastasized a year later. In between, she educated herself on treatment protocols and research developments. After learning her cancer had spread to other parts of her body, she took matters into her own hands and visited CU Cancer Center to enroll in a clinical trial testing crizotinib. The drug sent her cancer into remission in just three months.
“I am alive today thanks to precision medicine and other patients I came in contact with through online support groups and communities,” she said. Her lessons helped fuel her new life’s passion as a cancer patient advocate, spreading her message of empowerment and hope during talks with cancer patients, physicians and regulators
The WCLC is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, attracting more than 7,000 researchers, physicians and specialists from more than 100 countries. The conference goal is to increase awareness and collaboration so that the latest developments in lung cancer can be understood and implemented throughout the world. Falling under the theme of “Fighting Lung Cancer,” the conference will cover a wide range of disciplines and unveil several research studies and clinical trial results. For the first time, IASLC has invited survivors to attend the conference free of charge. For more information on the 2015 WCLC, visit: http://wclc2015.iaslc.org/.
IASLC Director of Communications
Jeff.Wolf@IASLC.org | 720-325-2952
Public Relations Manager
CMartin331@comcast.net | 630-670-2745
IASLC Projects Specialist
Becky.Bunn@IASLC.org | 720-325-2946