On June 3, at the Annual Business Meeting held in conjunction with the ASCO Annual Meeting, Clifford Hudis, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will succeed Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP, as ASCO President.AC: What do you remember about your first ASCO Annual Meeting?
I began attending the ASCO Annual Meeting during my fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. However, the first one that I really remember was in San Diego at the Del Coronado Hotel in the early 1990s. I had the opportunity to present the results of a phase II study testing dose-dense sequential chemotherapy. The other speakers in that session on adjuvant therapy for breast cancer included Dr. Gianni Bonadonna, Dr. Bill Peters, and Dr. Vince DeVita. I was so anxious that I stayed up almost the entire night reading my prepared script out loud over and over again. What I remember to this day is the rewarding feeling of presenting original research as a young investigator to my colleagues (even if they were all out of my league!) and being immersed in the culture and community of clinical and translational research. This was during my formative years in academic medicine, and I hope that ASCO can continue to provide these moments for all of the young investigators and trainees who could benefit.AC: What sessions or activities are you particularly interested in attending?
I always enjoy the classics. I love hearing the abstract presentations in my field as well as mingling with investigators and colleagues at the Poster Discussion Sessions. Some of our Education Sessions will be great this year, especially “Reaping the Rewards of the Cancer Genome Atlas Project” and “Rationally Combining Targeted and Pathway-Specific Agents.” Many attendees will want to hear “Highlights from the 2012 Cancer Center Business Summit”: no matter where we practice and how much or how limited our patient care is, changes in the delivery and funding of health care are happening, and keeping up to date in this area is important.
In breast cancer in particular, the session on “Pushing the Limits of Upfront Care and Drug Development: Neoadjuvant Opportunities in Breast Cancer” should be informative as the U.S. FDA considers a pathway to approval in this setting. A related session focusing on “Strategies to Overcome Clinical, Regulatory, and Financial Challenges in Implementation of Personalized Medicine” promises to be informative and relevant. Finally, an area of personal interest, inflammation and cancer, will be addressed in two Education Sessions (“Obesity and Inflammation: The Dangerous Duo in Breast Cancer” and “Cancer and Inflammation: Beyond the Malignant Cell”)—these discussions will set the stage for some of what we address in the next year or two at our Annual Meetings.AC: What have you been thinking about as you prepare to step into the role of ASCO President?
I am thinking continuously about the big opportunities that our community will face over the coming years. I spend as much time as I can talking to as many of our Past Presidents as possible, as well as others involved in research and health care policy. What really has my attention is the role that ASCO should play in the evolution of health care in general, cancer care specifically, and research, and how best to leverage our community’s skills, experience, and creativity as we face unprecedented scientific advances juxtaposed with some frustrating resource constraints. I am completely optimistic that we can make meaningful progress, but it will require compromise and sacrifice along the way. We will have to work together as never before