Shining a Light on 2024 ASCO Breakthrough: An Interview With Dr. Melvin Chua

Jan 17, 2024

Save the date for ASCO Breakthrough on August 8-10, 2024, and plan to join us in Yokohama, Japan, or online to discover the latest cutting-edge advances spanning multiple disease sites that will keep you at the forefront of innovation that is shaping clinical cancer care. 2024 ASCO Breakthrough Program Committee chair Melvin Chua, MBBS, PhD, FRCR, details what we’ve learned from the 2023 meeting and shares his excitement for this year’s program.

This will be the third time ASCO Breakthrough will be held in Asia. Why was this region chosen for the meeting?

MC: Asia is economically and culturally diverse, which results in the disparity we see in cancer care and investments into research and new technologies and drugs. Having ASCO Breakthrough in Asia is conducive to bring together all the clinicians and researchers for a focused 3-day meeting to learn about the heterogenous issues that affect patients with cancer from this part of the world.

What did you learn from 2023 ASCO Breakthrough that you plan to build on for 2024?

MC: We had a strong showing for 2023 ASCO Breakthrough, and attendees shared that they really enjoyed the short TED-like talks that were scoped to include technological and therapeutic innovations from both academic and industry partners. Many of the sessions were very well-received, including topics on AI, precision oncology, and multiomics, to our disease-focused, case-based sessions focused on prevalent disease sites in Asia.

For 2024, we plan to retain a similar agenda with a hybrid of academic and industry speakers encompassing a wide range of current topics in oncology. Popular topics like AI applications, precision oncology, robotics, and novel immunotherapeutics will be featured. Additionally, we aim to scope the sessions to be clinically relevant to participants from countries across the economic spectrum.

What research were you most excited to see presented in 2023 and what do you hope to see in 2024?

MC: It was very heartening to see the high-quality research ranging from major trial updates to prospective trials that were conducted in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The trial that stuck with me most was a prospective randomized study from India that explored a novel but inexpensive antiemetic regimen for chemotherapy. We hope to attract more relevant and creative research like this in 2024.

What can attendees expect the 2024 program to cover?

MC: For 2024, attendees can expect to see more clinically focused content that will include perspectives on implications and pathways to adoption in LMICs. We will again cover current topics like AI, novel therapeutics and immunotherapies, and precision oncology, but for 2024, we will slant the content towards clinical translation and relevance to both upper-middle income countries and LMICs.

Are there any new features in 2024 that you want to call attention to?

MC: Along the theme of influencing clinical practice, we have added sessions on innovative approaches to neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapies as well as robotics and other novel technologies in cancer care. Similar to 2023, we will have case-based discussions, but this year we will pair the sessions with the education sessions on novel immunotherapies, precision oncology approaches, and neoadjuvant and adjuvant strategies to enhance the clinical relevance of the content for our attendees.

Keeping in mind our broad-based audience, we have added two sessions this year that will discuss health economics and new cancer treatments, and real-world evidence and decentralized clinical trials for drug approvals. We are very excited about the topics we have planned for 2024!

What advice would you give to researchers who are considering submitting to ASCO Breakthrough?

MC: We welcome all research that covers clinical trials and real-world evidence to translational research. Even basic science and innovation-type research will be considered so long as they have strong clinical relevance. Presenters can expect ample opportunities for oral presentations as well as prestigious abstract awards for high-quality submissions. Additionally, all accepted abstracts will publish in the Journal of Clinical Oncology—one of the most highly cited oncology journals in the world that publishes cutting-edge research on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer.

Who should attend ASCO Breakthrough, and what participants can gain from attending?

MC: We welcome everyone who is involved in health care research and innovation, even outside of cancer, and clinical care providers from all practice settings. At 2024 ASCO Breakthrough, we have deliberately catered for several windows for networking throughout the 3-day program. The meeting aims to provide an informal setting for a diverse group of attendees, abstract presenters, and expert faculties to interact, where everyone will be able to gain insights on the latest oncology research and exchange ideas on how to overcome challenges to oncology care and research on the ground.

If someone is unable to attend the meeting in person in Japan, how can they engage and connect with presenters and faculty?

MC: The meeting will provide an interactive experience for our virtual attendees, so that they do not miss out on opportunities to engage with faculty members. During livestream sessions, online attendees can submit questions for speakers and vote in polls. We will make posters and abstracts available for viewing online throughout the meeting. After the meeting, presentation recordings will be available for viewing for all registered attendees. Online-only participants are more than welcome to reach out to me with questions before, during, and after the meeting!

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