2012 Annual Meeting to Highlight NCI’s ‘Provocative Questions’ and Offer First-ever Pre–Annual Meeting Seminars

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3.6.46_burstein.jpgAs this year’s ASCO Annual Meeting was being planned, the NCI was developing and releasing its “Provocative Questions” project—an effort to stimulate the cancer community to ask itself 24 key questions in order to advance the treatment of cancer and provide better care.

It quickly became clear to ASCO’s Cancer Education Committee that the 2012 Annual Meeting’s content should delve deeply into many of the 24 questions, essentially helping the NCI spur the research community to use laboratory, clinical, and population sciences in more effective and imaginative ways.

“The Cancer Education Committee thought it would be helpful for clinicians, investigators, and other cancer professionals to get some perspective on what these questions are, how to think about them, and hopefully contribute to that dialogue,” said Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Chair of ASCO’s Cancer Education Committee.

Compelling Inquiries

Among the questions are: How do public health challenges like obesity and the environment play into the risk of developing cancer? How can biologic and genomic methods help us to better understand and better treat cancer? How can we come up with drug therapies for target molecules that have historically been considered ‘undruggable’? What is the nature of resistance?

“These are issues that oncologists deal with every day,” said Dr. Burstein. “The questions get to the whys and wherefores of cancer as it stands right now, and that’s what makes them so compelling.”

Thus, many of the educational sessions at the 2012 Annual Meeting—to be held June 1–5 at McCormick Place in Chicago with the theme “Collaborating to Conquer Cancer”—will highlight selected provocative questions. To learn more about the sessions related to the NCI’s 24 provocative questions, visit

New Seminars before the Annual Meeting

3.6.46_quote.jpgAlso new this year is the Pre–Annual Meeting Seminar series, to be held the afternoon of Thursday, May 31, continuing through noon on Friday, June 1, the first day of the Annual Meeting. Three seminars are being offered:

  • Clinical Care in Oncology for the Advanced Practice Provider
  • Designs for Contemporary Early-Phase Clinical Trials
  • New Drugs in Oncology

These intimate, discussion-based seminars will offer education on expanded topics of interest to oncologists and other advanced practice providers. The seminars’ seat availability will be kept small, to encourage interactive sessions.

The seminars are designed for the provider who either can’t stay for the Annual Meeting or who wants to add more educational sessions to his or her meeting experience. The Clinical Care in Oncology for the Advanced Practice Provider seminar, cosponsored with the Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology and the Oncology Nursing Society, also provides an opportunity for advanced practice providers who usually attend separate educational events to jointly learn about the latest trends in oncology and symptom and side-effect management.

New: Q&A after Plenary Session and Core Sessions

Many attendees of the Annual Meeting will be pleased to find a question-and-answer session following the plenary this year, where a to-be-determined speaker will discuss and answer questions about one of the session’s practice-changing abstracts.

Also new this year: The track formerly known as “General Oncology” has been renamed  “Core Sessions.” Designed to help busy oncologists streamline their Annual Meeting experience, the Core Session track includes topics such as controversies in particular disease areas, personalized care, and new developments in the field. These sessions are scheduled with minimal overlap. The sessions can be found in the ePlanner under the Core Sessions track listing.

To learn more, and to register for the Annual Meeting and Pre–Annual Meeting Seminars, visit ■

© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.