CR Reports From SABCS 2008
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CR REPORTS FROM THE SABCS 2008


From Dec. 10 to Dec. 14, 2008, CR was reporting live via DAILY BLOGS and PODCASTS from the 2008 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, in Texas.

 


SUNDAY, DEC. 14, 2008

A Focus on Metastasis, and Some Final Reflections

Posted by Musa Mayer

It’s Sunday, the last day of the 2008 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, and most people have already left, for another year. All the drug company booths have been broken down, the overflow seating has been folded away, and the vast hall through which 9,200 researchers, oncologists, industry folks and advocates thronged only yesterday has now been transformed into a long curtained corridor leading to Hall D, where the last of the general sessions is being held.

My advocate friends and I sat up late last night in one of the hotel bars, reflecting on this year’s meeting over a glass of wine. As women of  “a certain age,” we first lamented the impact on our poor sore knees of the long walks from session to session on the cavernous convention center’s thinly carpeted concrete floors. Then we got down to some serious talking. What research had we found most interesting? What were the themes of this conference? Were we leaving discouraged, or feeling hopeful? Read more ...   


SATURDAY, DEC. 13, 2008

The Shape of Progress in Breast Cancer:
Use and overuse of diagnostic MRI

Posted by Musa Mayer

What is the shape of progress in breast cancer? In the United States, where our collective romance with technology and innovation often colludes with a lack of evidence-based health insurance coverage, it follows a predictable curve. A new approach is put forth, often against much resistance, but then is widely adopted. In time, this leads to indiscriminate overuse and off-label prescribing, often fueled by marketing strategies. Finally, new studies emerge that question this overuse, demonstrating its harm and costs. New methods are proposed to better select patients who will actually benefit, and spare those who will not. Read more ...  


SATURDAY, DEC. 13, 2008

The Latest on Breast Imaging

Posted by Kevin Begos

Oncologist Judy Garber of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, surgical oncologist Monica Morrow of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and radiologist David Mankoff of the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle discuss the use of imaging technologies in breast cancer screening and treatment.

Listen here (6.74 MB / 7:21 minutes)
or
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FRIDAY, DEC. 12, 2008

Something Old, Something New:
Promising treatments and strategies for metastatic breast cancer

Posted by Musa Mayer

These are exciting times. Scientific understanding of breast cancer is growing exponentially. Never have there been more cancer treatments under development. PhRMA, the professional organization of the pharmaceutical industry, lists 90 for breast cancer alone in its 2008 report (this link opens a PDF). Yet most treatments now in phase I and II clinical trials—and even some in phase III—will never be approved and reach the clinic. Either they won’t work well enough, or they’ll be too toxic, or both. In the end, few will measure up to the tough standards for safety and efficacy that testing in humans necessarily involves. Read more ...


FRIDAY, DEC. 12, 2008

Challenging Traditional Views of Cancer

Posted by Kevin Begos

Oncologist Larry Norton of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City discusses how new research is challenging traditional assumptions about the fundamental nature of cancer.

Listen here (4.9 MB / 5:21 minutes)
or
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THURSDAY, DEC. 11, 2008

Much Ado About Small Differences:
Are we asking the right questions about hormonal therapy for primary breast cancer?

Posted by Musa Mayer

The first morning of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is usually reserved for the most newsworthy research presented at the conference. On Thursday, the focus was on hormonal therapies for breast cancer prevention and treatment—especially for adjuvant treatment of early disease. And for me at least, what I heard was less than impressive. Read more ...


THURSDAY, DEC. 11, 2008

Talking About Breast Cancer Risk

Posted by Kevin Begos

Epidemiologist Joann G. Elmore of the University of Washington in Seattle discusses the difficulties of predicting breast cancer risk and of communicating those predictions with patients.

Listen here (4.58 MB / 5:00 minutes)
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THURSDAY, DEC. 11, 2008

Update on Breast Cancer Genetics

Posted by Kevin Begos

Genetic epidemiologist Douglas Easton of the University of Cambridge in England speaks about recent developments in genetic susceptibility to breast cancer.

Easton received the AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, supported by an educational grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Listen here (4.0 MB / 4:15 minutes)
or
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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 2008

Cancer Clinical Trials in the 21st Century

Posted by Kevin Begos

Oncologist and clinical researcher Martine Piccart of the Jules Bordet Institute in Belgium speaks about how clinical trials need to adapt.

Listen here (4.65 MB / 4:56 minutes)
or
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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 2008

Advocate Learning at SABCS and 
the Future of Clinical Trials (with Martine Piccart)

Posted by Musa Mayer

Greetings from San Antonio! I’ve been coming to the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) since 1996, and always come away from these four days of morning-to-night sessions stimulated, recharged and—frankly—exhausted. It’s a great place to meet and hang out with researchers and fellow advocates, while hearing all about the latest science of breast cancer from the experts. Read more ...