One of the over-riding concerns in oncology and for the Society is setting the stage for the very best research and then moving advances into everyday practice in ways that better outcomes for our patients. This involves a number of time-intensive and intricately choreographed steps. The first step is ensuring that we have a future generation of excellent clinical trialists who will continue rigorous, evidence-based research despite budget battles and bottom lines.
In this issue, we go behind the scenes at the “Vail Workshop” to find out why this ASCO/AACR course remains a favorite among faculty and budding researchers and why it’s ultimately so important for our patients. One item that struck me was the statement from Co-Chair Mithat Gönen, PhD, that there’s a “great need for statisticians working on oncology clinical trials.” If not for programs such as the “Vail Workshop,” we would undoubtedly lose top talent to other professions and valuable momentum in the ongoing battle against cancer. Kudos to the visionaries who nurture the next generation of scientific explorers.
Speaking of which, it is my pleasure to welcome Jedd Wolchok, MD, PhD, who wrote an insightful exclusive for ASCO Connection on where we are in our search for solid tumor vaccines, answering the question: “Can We Do It?” You may remember Dr. Wolchok from the 2011 Annual Meeting, in which he presented the attention-getting Plenary Session abstract demonstrating that the integration of ipilimumab in the first-line setting improves survival for patients with metastatic melanoma.
All of which brings us back to our patients. How do we bring the best cutting-edge science to our practice? In our cover story, we showcase the upgraded Cancer Portals resource on ASCO.org—a tool designed to help us access the latest disease-specific research as efficiently as possible.
And finally, how do we communicate the increasingly complex information to our patients? ASCO President Michael P. Link, MD, addresses this topic in a personal and poignant column, and we delve further into the ramifications of doctor-patient communication in our interview with ASCO member and advocate for the field of psycho-oncology, Antonella Surbone, MD, PhD.
Add your comments to these and other articles in our October 2011 issue. Thanks for reading.