JSMO, ASCO Launch Young Oncologist Workshop (YOW) for Clinical Research in Japan

Sep 10, 2018

By Chikashi Ishioka, MD, PhD, and Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO
JSMO-ASCO Young Oncologist Workshop 2018 Co-Chairs

On February 8-10, 2018, the Japanese Society of Medical Oncology (JSMO) and ASCO co-organized the first Young Oncologist Workshop (YOW), held in Tokyo, Japan. The YOW was an educational workshop proposed by JSMO and developed with advice of the International Affairs Committee (IAC) of ASCO, based on the models provided by the ASCO International Clinical Trials Workshop (ICTW) and the ASCO/American Association of Cancer Research Vail Clinical Trials Workshop.

The main goal of the YOW 2018 was to improve the research ability of young talented members of JSMO, who will then go on to contribute to the development of clinical oncology both domestically and on the international level in the future.

Thirty attendees were selected by the JSMO Board of both Education and International Affairs Committees from among many highly qualified applicants; attendees were all under age 40 and most were JSMO-Board certified medical oncologists. Over the course of the 2-day workshop, eight lectures were presented by six ASCO faculty members and two JSMO members. Ten senior Japanese medical oncologists also participated as facilitators for the participants from JSMO. The workshop was held entirely in English. The majority of the participants had no previous formal training in a workshop.

Excellent and globally renowned international and local faculty members from ASCO and JSMO presented topics related to translational research and clinical trials, as well as innovative strategies to improve clinical research beyond the classic approaches now widely accepted. The eight lecturers discussed the following topics:

  • “Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials of Precision Medicine,” presented by Dr. Hayes
  • “Strategies, Biomarkers, and Endpoints for Phase I and II Trials,” presented by Lillian L. Siu, MD, FASCO, of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Canada
  • “Ongoing Development of Small Molecular Inhibitors,” presented by Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • “Cancer Epigenetics as a Target of Diagnosis and Treatment,” presented by Atsushi Kaneda, MD, PhD, of Chiba University, Japan
  • “Cancer Immunology and the Future Direction of Immune Therapy,” presented by Hiroyoshi Nishikawa, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer Center, Japan
  • “What’s Going on in Cancer Precision Medicine,” presented by James M. Ford, MD, FASCO, of Stanford University Medical Center
  • “Update on the Field of Liquid Biopsies,” presented by Maximilian Diehn, MD, PhD, of Stanford University
  • “The Era of Big Data in Cancer,” presented by Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO, of Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute

Despite the substantial diversity in the many subspecialties of oncology, as well as the relative lack of experience in clinical research and varied English fluency among the YOW participants, the very ambitious program was a complete success. In addition to the faculty presentations, six selected participants presented their own study plans which were then discussed and revised in separate break-out groups, each led by one of the faculty. Furthermore, the relatively small size of the audience and the informality of the sessions led to valuable active discussions throughout the workshop.

The pre- and post-workshop examinations for the participants validated the effect of the workshop. Furthermore, the post-workshop evaluation of the lecturers, facilitators, and participants was extremely high. The workshop received exuberant feedback from participants as well as faculty and leadership (see below).

Following the success of the pilot workshop, the IAC Steering Committee endorsed ASCO’s involvement in a second YOW; during a recent joint meeting, ASCO and JSMO selected February 14-16, 2019, as the dates. Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO, ASCO immediate past president, and Yuichi Ando, MD, PhD, JSMO Education Committee director, will serve as co-chairs of the 2019 workshop, which will be based around the theme of precision oncology and immune-oncology. Details will be available on the JSMO website as the workshop approaches.

YOW 2018: Perspectives From Organizers, Faculty, Participants

“JSMO and ASCO have collaborated for many years, such as presenting the Best of ASCO® Japan and a joint symposium at the Annual Meeting of JSMO. However, YOW takes our collaborations to a new level, designed to permit the sharing of knowledge and experience, which we believe will improve both the research and clinical care in cancer in Japan. It was the first trial, but this workshop was very successful. All the lecturers, the facilitators, and the participants were fabulous, and it was without doubt an extremely significant workshop.”
—Dr. Chikashi Ishioka,  YOW 2018 co-chair

“I have been a faculty member at other clinical research workshops and always enjoyed them. But the enthusiasm and inquisitiveness of the participants at the YOW was fantastic. What fun!”
—Dr. Daniel F. Hayes, YOW 2018 co-chair

“The YOW has been one of the most interactive meetings with young investigators I have participated in. They were so engaged, enthusiastic, and curious.”
—Dr. Lillian L. Siu, YOW 2018 faculty

“Every program was very educational and helpful. Speakers and facilitators enthusiastically gave us lectures and advice. I also appreciate the good relationships built with other participants."
—Dr. Kenji Tsuchihashi, YOW 2018 attendee

“This was one of the best workshops I’ve ever participated in.”
—Dr. Makoto Nishino, YOW 2018 attendee

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