Public Release: 

World experts gather for refocusing on patients with small cell lung cancer

International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

DENVER - Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) will be the concentrated focus when 100 global experts in the field meet for a workshop hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) on April 22-24, 2015 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The meeting, under the direction of co-chairs Charles Rudin, MD, PhD, Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, Paul A. Bunn, Jr., MD, John Minna, MD, Glenwood Goss, MD, and Roman Thomas, MD, will review and refocus the field, foster collaboration with the generation of new and innovative ideas for basic and clinical research, and highlight the potential role for personalized medicine in SCLC clinical trial designs. Fred R. Hirsch, Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the University of Colorado and the CEO of IASLC, says "this meeting will have a focus on a disease, which over the years has been left behind in the progress on "Personalized Medicine" for cancer in general and compared to other forms of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in particular".

The meeting will gather the current scientific knowledge and the world experts will make a roadmap for future research and clinical trials for patients with this disease. It is expected that this expert meeting will lead to international collaborative efforts for improving therapy and speed up new drug development and treatment options for the many patients with SCLC. The meeting will have participation from several "stakeholders" in the field. Beyond the scientific experts, there will be representation from the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), Food and Drug Administration and industry. The meeting is a follow-up from a US Congress request for an increased concerted effort against "recalcitrant cancers", within which the NCI included small cell lung cancer. This meeting, arranged by the IASLC, is an international expansion on the NCI led initial response last year.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the world with 1.4 million deaths each year. In the US about 225,000 patients are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and 160,000 die. There are two major types of lung cancer: NSCLC, which accounts for 85% of the cases, and SCLC. "Despite significant progress in lung cancer screening and therapy over the last decade, the prognosis for those diagnosed with SCLC is still poor and unacceptable in an era of rapid development in personalized or precision medicine", Dr. Hirsch says. This intensive 2 ½ day IASLC-sponsored workshop is meant to shift that by having comprehensive discussions on these eight topics:

  • Etiology of SCLC and related tumors

  • Genome, epigenome, and proteome studies

  • Tumor evolution and targeting in preclinical models

  • Developmental signaling pathways

  • Immunotherapy

  • New SCLC subsets and targets

  • New targets and new drugs for SCLC

  • Master protocols for clinical trials and predictive biomarkers

Charles Rudin, Chief of Thoracic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, noted the exceptional eagerness to hold such a meeting focused on small cell lung cancer, both from academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies. "We have had a great international response to invitations to join this workshop. Recent progress in understanding the molecular biology and genetics of small cell lung cancer have led to new therapeutic insights into how we might better approach this particularly aggressive malignancy. The time is right to push for clinical translation of these many concepts, to shape the next generation of clinical trials in small cell lung cancer, and ultimately to change the outcome for patients with this disease."

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About the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC)

The IASLC has a far-reaching and significant history in the field of small cell lung cancer with numerous workshops held on the subject in the beginning of its history. The IASLC is this year celebrating 40 years anniversary and is the only global organization solely dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes nearly 4,000 lung cancer specialists in more than 80 countries. IASLC members promote the study of etiology, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and all other aspects of lung cancer and thoracic malignancies. IASLC disseminates information about lung cancer to scientists, members of the medical community and the public, and uses all available means to eliminate lung cancer as a health threat for the individual patients throughout the world. Members include physicians, scientists, nurses and allied health professional interested in lung cancer, including patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates.

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