Cancer treatment and understanding have come a long way, in part due to advancements in imaging.
But while there have been advances, much work still needs to be done, especially when it comes to access to imaging and treatment, said Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University.
Brawley will discuss trends in cancer treatment as part of the keynote speech he plans to deliver at a cancer symposium at Hood College from Friday through Sunday.
Leidos Biomedical Research Inc., which operates the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, and Hood College will host the symposium to discuss the latest in imaging and cancer biology.
The symposium, a call back to the ones Hood College used to hold with the National Cancer Institute, will bring some of the leading cancer imaging researchers to Frederick. The organizers hope to bring those already in the field and students who might be interested in joining it.
“This was a unique opportunity for Leidos Biomedical Research to essentially bring together people who are leaders in the field of imaging, all the way from imaging molecules, to cells, to whole body and animal imaging,” said Sriram Subramaniam, a scientific adviser at Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research who helped organize the symposium.
The different talks will give a bird’s-eye view of imaging, proteins and genomes, Subramaniam said.
“Our idea is that it’ll be a crash course in the frontiers of the field,” he said.
Imaging is an advancing field with a lot of interest, Subramaniam said.
The symposium begins Friday evening with Brawley’s talk, which is free and open to the public. On Saturday, attendees will hear talks on cancer signaling and structural biologies. Sunday will involve novel approaches in imaging.
Brawley’s talk will focus on trends, he said, especially regionalization and demographics. About 25 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented, he said.
“If you talk about trends and talk about the demographics, what you very quickly come about is there are people in the United States that aren’t benefiting as well as others,” he said.
Along with the focus on imaging, Brawley said that a lot of people do not get good cancer prevention or diagnosis. Without a diagnosis, they will not have access to the care they will need.
Brawley’s talk will be delivered in a manner that will make it easy for those with no or limited background in cancer to understand, said Hood College President Andrea Chapdelaine in an email.
“What an opportunity for the community to have access to this topic in a way that is appropriate for the non-medical community,” Chapdelaine said.
Hood and NCI started holding Oncogene meetings in 1985, she said. The upcoming symposium, and possibly those in the future, revive those.
“We have such strong partnerships — true collaboration — with the labs, agencies and biotech companies in the area,” Chapdelaine said. “Their scientists serve on advisory boards to ensure our programs are current and our students are prepared for their careers; they also serve as faculty and collaborate with our faculty and staff on projects and research. In turn our graduates serve as a strong workforce pipeline.”