CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - The 2016 IASLC Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference (APLCC), held May 13-15, 2016 is organized under the aegis of International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), Thai Society of Clinical Oncology (TSCO), Chiang Mai Lung Cancer Group, Faculty of Medicine at the Chiang Mai University (CMU) and the local organizing committee of APLCC 2016.
APLCC Returns to Chiang Mai
APLCC 2016 is the seventh regional biennial lung cancer conference, and it has returned to where it started in Chiang Mai, Thailand after 12 years.
"APLCC 2016 has come back to the host city of the first APLCC which was organized by us in 2004," said Dr. Sumitra Thongprasert, Chair of APLCC 2016 and the chair of the first APLCC in 2004.
APLCC Updates Lung Cancer Experts with Latest Science
The regional lung cancer conference provides an important platform for the latest scientific exchanges and academic networking for a range of experts playing a crucial role in lung cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, and care.
"The main highlights of APLCC 2016 are the latest advances in lung cancer, especially basic and clinical research, immunotherapy, multidisciplinary practices in the Asian-Pacific region, practical clinical management; and also expert ideas and knowledge sharing from outside the region from different parts of the world including the Americas and the European region," Dr. Thongprasert said.
Tobacco Use and Lung Cancer
"More than 100,000 deaths occur each year because of lung cancer in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Additionally, new cases of lung cancer and overall mortality rates are rising each year in ASEAN. That is why tobacco control attains a never-before urgency," said Dr. Prakit Vathesatogkit, Executive Secretary of Action on Smoking and Health Foundation of Thailand.
According to Dr. Vathesatogkit, health professionals, including lung cancer experts, have a prominent role to play in tobacco control. They have the trust of the population, the media, and opinion leaders, and their voices are heard across a vast range of social, economic, and political arenas.
Progress in Lung Cancer
"Historically most patients of lung cancer were smokers with advanced lung disease, advanced cancer, and treatments were not very successful. So there was a high degree of pessimism about lung cancer and lung cancer therapy," said Dr. Paul A. Bunn Jr, Distinguished Professor, Division of Medical Oncology, University of Colorado and James Dudley Chair in Lung Cancer Research, USA. Dr. Bunn is also the former President of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), former CEO of IASLC, former President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the 2016 ASCO David A. Karnofsky Award recipient.
Dr. Bunn strongly advocates for reversing that pessimism due to new advancements in lung cancer diagnostics and therapy.
Lung Cancer Screening in Thailand
The survival rate for lung cancer is strongly related to the stage of the disease. The earlier its detection, the better its survival rate. Currently, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is the standard technique for lung cancer screening. However, several challenges remain in implementing widespread use of screening in Thailand.
Role of SBRT in Early NSCLC
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT), also known as Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR), has been a major development in the treatment of lung cancer in the last few years. It holds the promise of not only curing early-stage operable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but does so with minimal toxicity and offers the patient more comfort and convenience.
Entering the Era of Immunotherapy
"Excitingly, in the last couple of years we have a new treatment modality that may be particularly effective in patients without these driver mutations -- this is called immunotherapy. This is a type of therapy that harnesses your own body's immune system to attack your cancer. Current drugs that are approved for this therapy are generally very well tolerated with a serious-adverse-events rate of less than 5 percent," said Dr. David Carbone, a globally recognized expert in this field. Dr. Carbone is the current President of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC); Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology; and leads the James Thoracic Oncology Center at Ohio State University in the USA. He has an active research lab and has published hundreds of research papers on lung cancer throughout his career.
Dealing with Stage IIIA or IIIB
The treatment of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is becoming a significant challenge because of a growing proportion of patients with unresectable (cannot be operated upon) stage III disease. Despite a multimodality approach consisting of concurrent chemo-radiotherapy, the prognosis remains poor. However, there is still hope.
Challenges Using New Lung Cancer Drugs
Despite many recent advancements in the treatment of lung cancer, there are challenges in the use of novel regimens in the Asian-Pacific region. However, these challenges are not the same across the region, with different obstacles in Australia, Thailand, India, and Japan.
The Cost of New Drugs
One of the most pressing problems in oncology today is the rising costs of cancer treatment. In most markets, interdependence between demand and supply and free market forces sets prices of a product/service. The healthcare market, however, is not an independently working market. There is concentration of power either in the national buyers or in the pharmaceutical industry, which has a monopoly over its patented drugs.
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About the IASLC
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated solely to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes more than 5,000 lung cancer specialists in over 100 countries. Visit http://www.iaslc.org for more information.
About the TSCO
The Thai Society of Clinical Oncology's (TSCO) primary goals are to educate medical oncologist through major cancer centers in university hospitals and improve the treatment and prevention of cancer. In addition to advancing education of medical oncology, TSCO provides education for other disciplines to advance the quality of cancer care in Thailand.
About Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University
Since its founding in 1967, the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University has grown continuously. Now the largest medical school in northern Thailand, it operates the largest and most comprehensive hospital in the region.