By Peter P. Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO
Chair, Breakthrough Co-Host Committee
Breakthrough: A Global Summit for Oncology Innovators was created, in part, to recognize our increasingly large and international community of members, to bring a meeting to their area, to go outside the United States, and shake up our own thinking.
Why is now the time to organize a summit like this? Any time is a good time to think outside the box, and to think about the future. Breakthroughs happen all the time. But we are in a unique moment in terms of the pace of breakthroughs that are being made, the variety of places that breakthroughs are happening, and the increasing contribution of the Asian region in technology innovation and breakthrough ways of thinking.
We decided to hold the meeting in Asia because it is such an exciting area. There’s so much technology development, a lot of investment funding to spur it on, and different sets of government regulations. That creates fertile ground for different ideas, new ways of thinking, and innovative solutions to problems. For members in the United States, by physically transporting ourselves into a different environment we take ourselves out of the familiar and that experience changes our perspective, makes us a little bit uncomfortable, and pushes us forward.
Asia is large and culturally diverse, so Breakthrough will rotate through several countries. The first meeting is in Bangkok, Thailand, this October. Next it will be held in South Korea, followed by Hong Kong. We will go to different cities in the region over the coming years.
ASCO and the oncology societies in the region have formed a council that will help plan these meetings, not just for this year but for future years. This collaboration draws ASCO much closer to its sister societies in the region and creates a real, positive relationship. We are coming to their part of the globe, respecting their region, respecting their organization, and acknowledging the leadership that they bring to oncology and the world.
Dr. Yu is senior vice president and physician in chief at Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute. He is chair of the Breakthrough Co-Host Committee and a past president of ASCO. Follow him on Twitter @YupOnc.