This year’s ASCO Annual Meeting was really exciting in two specific ways. First, we saw the development of high-tech novel therapies and combinations that effectively manipulate the immune system and extend survival in historically difficult-to-treat diseases, like metastatic melanoma (eg, Abstracts CRA9007, CRA9006, and 9012). This has the potential to influence treatment across a wide range of cancers in the coming years, and has been a long-sought goal of immunologists and cancer investigators. I think this is the beginning of something important.
The second issue relates to our critical responsibility to deliver high-quality care around the world. It was exciting to see, in a Plenary Session presentation by investigators from India, that an inexpensive intervention using vinegar and locally trained people could reduce the burden of cervix cancer (Abstract 2), potentially saving up to a quarter of a million lives a year. The fact that the Plenary audience applauded for this abstract the same way we do for exciting new targeted therapies and novel technologies shows us the heart and soul of ASCO's membership. Preventing cancer beats treating it every day of the week.
These two stories highlight the full spectrum of what ASCO offers and what attendees heard this year, but there was so much more in the individual sessions. I urge everyone to access the virtual meeting to catch what you may have missed.
Editor’s note: Watch for continuing coverage of the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting in future editions of The ASCO Post Evening News and in The ASCO Post.