The first edition of International Oncology Conference-MVR CANCON 2018 — organized by MVR Cancer Care and Research Institute with the theme “Consensus and Controversies in Oncology” — highlighted the latest therapeutic advances such as immunotherapy.
The three-day CME, which concluded at MVRCCRI Campus at Kozhikode on 30thSeptember 2018, was held with the support of expert faculty from Cleveland Clinic, USA. The conference involved interactive sessions on current and emerging treatment options and research in oncology, with special emphasis on gastrointestinal tract, breast, lung and gynaec-oncological tumours.
“Our main aim behind organizing this conference was to give clinical updates on various cancers through specialists and scientists from around the world and to make them cognizant of and be able to implement the knowledge through their practice,” said Dr. Narayanankutty Warrier, Medical Director and organizing chairperson at MVR Cancer Research Center.
Oncology experts from various disciplines shared their views on how the recent advances in genomics and molecular genetics are transforming cancer diagnosis and treatment approaches .
“Until a decade or so ago, when a patient got cancer at a particular location, he got treated for that cancer, while now we have moved on to treating that cancer based on the mutation in a particular receptor. So essentially, we have moved from an anatomical definition of the disease to a biological definition,” said Dr. Kurt A Schalper, Pathologist at Yale University, while discussing the advancements that precision medicine has brought about in the landscape of cancer treatment.
Breast cancer is historically considered to be immunologically silent. However, several preclinical and clinical studies suggest that immunotherapy has the potential to improve clinical outcomes for patients with breast cancer.
“We haven’t seen all the data yet, but it appears that the first approval for immunotherapy in breast cancer will be in combination with chemotherapy. Whether this is the best way to use immunotherapy remains to be seen. It may be active by itself or in combination with other classes of drugs as well,” says Dr. Thomas Budd, Professor of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic.
Talking about the lack of mandatory screening procedures that can lead to advanced-stage lung cancer consultation scenario, Dr. Rejiv Rajendranath, Consultant Oncologist at Apollo Medical Center, indicated the necessity of incorporating low-dose CT scan as an opportunistic screening technique among the high-risk individuals to help diagnose lung cancer at an early stage.
A proffered paper session, an annual quiz test, a workshop coordinated by radiation therapy technologists and a palliative care programme were other highlights of the symposium. Two young doctors, who were adjudged to have come up with the best oral and poster presentation, were given the opportunity for a one-month observership at Cleveland Clinic, USA.