Note from Dr. George Sledge, PMWC 2018 SV Program Chair

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past few years, we have seen major advancements in oncology propelled by increasing molecular and cellular mechanistic insights and applications of Precision Medicine. Tailored treatment for BRCA-positive mutation carriers and breast cancer patients is available. Disease identification and characterization is occurring. Patient stratification is being driven by molecular markers and gene signatures. And immunotherapy has opened avenues to successfully enlist the immune system to combat cancer, in some indications already becoming the new standard of care.

Along with these developments, clinical trial design is continually evolving to consider tumor heterogeneity among different patient populations. Furthermore, new technologies, such as CRISPR, 3D bio-printing, and radiomics, are expected to broaden and sharpen our ability to identify novel therapeutic targets.

When we think of cancer we have to be careful not to just focus on the “turning points”. Trastuzumab for HER2-positive cancer is a great tool that defeats cancers, but it doesn’t yet represent a final defeat of breast cancer.

We also shouldn’t focus on “single category of solutions” such as kinase inhibitors, antibodies, chemotherapeutics, radiation, or surgery. We rather need to focus on continuous improvement cycles. For instance, we went from a 20% cure rate to a more than 90% cure rate for acute lymphoplastic leukemia without introducing any new drugs. Strategy matters, but only if solutions exist!

I feel privileged to be a practicing oncologist at the present time, to be able to experience and actively shape many advancements that will change medical care in the near and longer term future. Now is the perfect time for me to join the PMWC team to develop the structure and focus of the upcoming PMWC 2018 SV conference. PMWC is a leader in creating an outstanding forum that touches every component of precision medicine while creating venues and events that bring together all stakeholders.

The PMWC 2018 SV conference will be a great opportunity to get one step closer to making precision medicine a true reality for all cancer patients.

A sneak peek promises an exciting upcoming conference, with full tracks covering artificial intelligence/machine learning, immunotherapy, the All of Us Research Program and other Precision Medicine initiatives. Additional subjects to be covered are blockchain applications in healthcare, a live demonstration of how molecular tumor boards work with treatment recommendations, a series of case studies of implementing big data in the clinic, longevity and aging, wellness and disease prevention, infectious disease monitoring and pathogen identification, the economics and financial impact of bringing PM to the clinic, the role of the FDA in patient care, the need for data sharing, biobanking, and the microbiome. See the developing program.

Please join us to hear first-hand from an exciting speaker lineup which includes Sir John Bell, Elisabeth Blackburn, Dame Sally Davies, Kimberly Blackburn, Troyen Brennan, Vinod Khosla, Chris Ianelli, Raghu Kalluri, Eric Lefkofsky, Hugh O’Dowd, Eric Schadt and many more for a total of about 200 speakers for PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley, January 22-24. These leading experts will share how current advances, opportunities, and challenges will shape the biomedical research and healthcare of the future.

Hope to see you there!

George Sledge, MD
Professor of Medicine (Oncology), Stanford University Medical Center
PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley Program Chair