2010 ASCO Annual Meeting: The Leading Edge of Clinical Oncology

May 18, 2010

April 2010 Issue:  On June 4-8, 2010, oncologists from around the world will gather at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, to review the latest scientific data, examine new technologies, and connect or reconnect with likeminded colleagues. Attendees may find that the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting is the most forward-looking to date.

Quality, Innovation in Science and Education
The theme of the Meeting, developed by 2009-2010 ASCO President Douglas W. Blayney, MD, is “Advancing Quality through Innovation.”

“Continued innovation in our research laboratories, clinics, and outpatient treatment centers, as well as at our patients’ bedsides and in our communities—all the places where we do our work—has resulted in sustained drops in cancer death rates during the past eight years,” Dr. Blayney said. “As oncology professionals, we are committed to delivering quality in all of these venues and to advancing innovative treatments, practices, and approaches.”

The Meeting theme will be evident in many sessions offered as part of the Meeting’s educational program, including:

  • From the Cancer Genome to Patients with Cancer: The Next Generation of Innovation—An ASCO/AACR Joint Session
  • Future Treatment Approaches toward Colorectal Cancer: New Therapeutic Pathways, New Targets
  • Closing the Loop: Evidence, Guidelines, Reporting, and Quality
  • How to Use Data to Improve Practice: Nexus of Quality and Efficiency

“Quality cancer care and innovation will not be possible unless we pay attention to the proposals for change in the organization and financing of our health care system,” Dr. Blayney noted. Attendees can learn more about the recent legislative decisions related to health care reform, and what those decisions may mean for oncologists, at a special session titled “Health Care Reform: Resetting the Clock.”

Attendees can also take advantage of a new scientific poster session called “Trials in Progress.” This poster session is designed to facilitate awareness and dialogue about open, ongoing clinical trials; encourage recruitment of new investigators and/or sites to trials; and stimulate dialogue related to successor or confirmatory trials.

While the Annual Meeting’s scientific program does not adhere to a particular theme, attendees can expect to see the most cutting-edge science from all disciplines and disease sites presented.

“Our goal is to select the highest-quality clinical and pre-clinical science that leads to better care for patients,” said Daniel F. Hayes, MD, Chair of the Scientific Program Committee. The scientific program will be especially exciting this year, as a record number of abstracts (more than 5,100) were submitted for presentation.

Utilizing Technology Effectively
Technology is a critical component of innovation. The 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting will offer opportunities to discover how technology can be used to enhance practice and education.

The first thing that attendees will notice is that the 2010 Annual Meeting information on ASCO.org has been redesigned and conveniently houses all meeting and program information in a user-friendly format. Visit www.asco.org/chicago2010 to register, book housing, or build a meeting itinerary.

The online Meeting Program, which contains the most complete and up-to-date session and presentation information, continues to improve based on attendee feedback. The 2010 Meeting Program will be more customizable—attendees will be able to choose single poster or abstract presentations for their calendars, instead of the entire session. The Meeting Program can be accessed online as usual, or viewed on a smart phone.

ASCO members who use smart phones (including iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android) can access other Society-related apps, such as the Membership Directory, Calendar of Events, and select Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Those interested in learning about new technologies, or optimizing the technologies they already use, should visit the Networking and Connection Hub, a new addition to the Oncology Professionals Hall (formerly the Exhibit Hall). The schedule of programs and expert presentations may include demonstrations of products such as e-readers; support for handheld devices; and discussion of how social networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and ASCO’s online community, can be useful for a practitioner.

“You can meet with someone who knows how to use Twitter, or RSS feeds, and they can tell you why it might be useful to you, or how to use your smart phone effectively,” said Michael Glodé, MD, Immediate Past Chair of the Integrated Technology (IT) Committee. “I hope that this will be popular among those who like technology and even those who don’t. It will be very interesting to see what we can accomplish with more hands-on coaching, almost like a Meet the Professor session.”

Attendees and non-attendees can access Meeting content with Virtual Meeting and podcast subscriptions. Virtual Meeting features an enhanced video player, incorporating thumbnails which allow viewers to easily find a presentation that they have seen or preview other sessions. Viewers can also see what their colleagues are watching with a “Top Watched” video list or see related videos to the current presentation. Virtual Meeting access can be purchased during online Meeting registration or added to a completed registration at a discounted rate, or purchased separately after the Meeting. The ASCO podcast program will include video podcasts for all captured sessions and is optimized for viewing on the Apple iPhone and other video devices.

The delivery of these technology offerings is supported by the Society’s new Integrated Media and Technology (IMT ) department, which combines the expertise of publishing, editorial, design, web, and information technology professionals to better serve ASCO members.

“Members depend on ASCO’s ability to vet and prioritize information. It’s not just that we want to see just anything; we count on our professional organization to have the experts and the effort to help sort out what’s important and what isn’t,” said Michael Fisch, MD, Chair of the IT Committee. “The IMT department will be integral to assisting with that effort.”

Technology will also be used at the Meeting to facilitate attendee participation. Those who attend the “Management of Side Effects of the Treatment of Colorectal Cancer” Education Session will have the opportunity to participate in a pilot program to enhance audience interaction.

Session faculty will take questions by text message, e-mail, or through a webpage, and respond during the question-and-answer portion of the presentation. (Floor microphones will still be available for those who prefer to ask questions the traditional way.)

Oncologists interested in taking advantage of the significant government stimulus incentives for implementing an electronic health record (EHR ) in their practice this year are encouraged to visit the EHR Lab in the Oncology Professionals Hall to get hands-on experience with the various products and speak with vendors. An education session on “Electronic Health Records in Oncology: A Requirement for 2014” and a ticketed Meet the Professor session on “Electronic/Digital Resources in Oncology: Value versus Distraction” will be offered as part of the Meeting program.

Attendee feedback is crucial to ASCO’s ability to create the best Annual Meeting experience possible. Evaluations will conveniently be available online, with no paper evaluations or drop boxes this year.

These innovations all stand in support of the ultimate goal of the Annual Meeting: to disseminate the most progressive information in the field of oncology to the community of dedicated cancer care professionals around the world.

“When you come to the Annual Meeting, the leading edge of science is right there, splashing against you. The wave of information that first crashes at the Meeting continues to roll out in various waves of interpretation,” Dr. Fisch said. “I find it very exciting not to wait for the tide to reach you somewhere down the line, but to be there when it hits, where you and your colleagues are there freshly encountering this new information. Not just for the thrill of being there, but to be able to bring new knowledge to life—to make the care of our patients better.”

Attend the Annual Business Meeting
All ASCO members are invited to attend the Annual Business Meeting, which will take place on Monday, June 7, from 12:00 PM-1:00 PM. George W . Sledge, MD, will be inaugurated as 2010-2011 ASCO President, and eight newly elected ASCO officers will take their places on the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. Recipients of 2010 ASCO Statesman Awards will also be recognized.

An Eco-conscious Annual Meeting
Annual Meeting attendees will find it easy to be green, as ASCO and McCormick Place have in place a number of initiatives to minimize the Meeting’s impact on the environment.

At the 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting, attendees recycled 175 tons of material that would otherwise have been thrown away. In 2010, recycling tables will again be located near Registration and all tote bag pick-up locations to facilitate recycling. Attendees can leave unwanted print products in these areas—look for the green tablecloths.

Water stations will be located in the various lounges and committee meeting rooms throughout McCormick Place to reduce the amount of bottled water at the Meeting. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own eco-friendly water bottles and refill at any of the stations. Recycling bins for cans and bottles are located throughout McCormick Place.

The 2010 tote bags are constructed from 100% recycled materials, and printed Meeting materials are published on post-consumer recycled paper.

Attendees will also be able to make eco-conscious decisions about the books distributed at the Annual Meeting. The 2010 ASCO Educational Book and the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting Proceedings, Part I will not be automatically distributed in every tote bag. When picking up their tote bags, attendees may choose to receive these materials in print or as part of ASCO’s new Virtual Tote Bag, which features both publications in an electronic format on a USB drive (memory stick).

The facility uses compact fluorescent bulbs, energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems, and Green Seal cleaning products. Food service in the convention center uses biodegradable flatware, straws, serving dishes, and cups instead of Styrofoam or polystyrene plastic. McCormick Place is powered in part by electricity from renewable sources. The facility also features one of the largest green roofs in Chicago, with 40,000 plants helping to reduce the city’s heat island effect and improving air quality. The roof and landscaping are maintained with a highly efficient irrigation system.


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