Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, second only to heart disease. In 2018, an estimated 9.6 million people lost their lives to this dreaded disease1. While the number of cancer-related deaths worldwide is declining due to reductions in tobacco smoking, improved screening methods, and earlier detection, the 2018 death toll is still staggering.
With the number of newly diagnosed cases annually expected to rise to 23.6 million by 20302, finding ways to treat and potentially cure cancer is high on medical research scientists and oncologists’ agendas.
With this in mind, the 14th Global summit on Oncology and Cancer, with the theme 'Reconnoitring the Prospect of Oncology and Cancer’'will take place on the 18th and 19th of March this year in London. The conference will see eminent professors, doctors, researchers, association members, pharmaceutical company delegates, exhibitors and students from across the globe coming together to discuss the most recent advancements and interventions in the field of oncology.
During the two day conference, a renowned panel of organising committee members and speakers will cover in-depth research and findings in their respective fields.
The conference highlights will include discussions and finding presentations on:
Cancer biology and oncology
Cancer develops as a result of changes or mutations in cells genetic material (genome) that cause them to undergo uncontrolled division and proliferation. Research into cancer biology investigates these changes and the molecular networks that control them, as well as the rapid increase of cancerous cells and cell death. Topics in these sessions will include:
- Cell biology
- Molecular biology
- Genes that cause cells to transform into cancer cells (oncogenes)
Cancer causes and diagnosis
It is a well-known fact that the early detection and diagnosis of cancer increases the success of treatment and survival rates. In this session, speakers will present findings on the causes and diagnostic procedures currently available in the treatment of cancer and tumours. Topics will cover:
- Risk factors in the development of cancer
- Chemical carcinogens
- Cancer signs
- Detection during the early stages of cancer
Carcinogenesis and mutagenesis
Cancerous (malignant) tumours develop due to uncontrolled and unlimited cell division, this is referred to as carcinogenesis, oncogenesis or tumorigenesis. The changes in genetic material caused by mutagens (physical or chemical agents) is referred to as mutagenesis. The latest findings in these fields and what they mean in the fight against cancer will be presented.
Cell and gene therapy
A field of biomedical research, gene therapy is an experimental treatment technique that explores influencing various disease at the DNA/RNA level by introducing normal genes into cells where missing or defective ones are present, with the aim of combatting the disease and correcting genetic disorders. This year’s conference speakers will address:
- Immune response to gene therapy
- Gene transfer
- The prevention and/or treatment of cancer with substances that trigger immune response (immunotherapy)
- Viruses that can infect and kill cancer cells (oncolytic agents)
Immunotherapy and immuno-oncology
A novel approach to cancer treatment, immuno-oncology uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. In these sessions, the following will be discussed:
- General immunotherapy
- Targeting cancer with immunotherapy
- Biomarkers in immunotherapy
- The side-effects of immunotherapy
Stem cell transplants in oncology
High dose chemotherapy and radiation administered in the treatment of cancer causes damage to stem cells (cells that form the foundation of the body, acting as building blocks for the blood, tissue, organs and immune cells). Stem cell transplants address this damage. This session will examine the latest findings in stem cell oncology and how these procedures can contribute to the decline in future cancer mortality rates.
Medical and radiation oncology
Medical imaging is vital in the screening for and early detection of various types of cancer as well as in determining the exact location, extension and stage of the lesion/s present. Radiation oncology plays an integral role in the treatment of cancer, with most patients undergoing some form of radiation. In this session, the latest advancements in this field will be discussed, with detailed findings being presented on:
- The use of imaging in the detection of early-stage prostate and breast cancer
- Nuclear medicine, Ultrasound, Mammography, CT, PET and MRI scans
- Radio therapy
Gynaecologic oncologists deal with the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive system, including vaginal, cervical, uterine and ovarian cancers. These as well as endometrial cancer will be topics of discussion.
The most common form of cancer, breast cancer, can develop in both men and women, but is far more common in the fairer sex. In these sessions, speakers will cover:
- The stages of breast cancer
- Breast cancer and the role of the HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) gene in its development
- Breast cancer treatments
- Hereditary and breast cancer
Lung cancer can arise in any part of the lung, but the majority of cancers originate in the epithelial cells (i.e. cells that line the surfaces of the lungs). Lung cancer often metastasises (spreads), causing other cancerous tumours in the body. In this session the following topics will be covered:
- Small and non-small cell lung cancers
- The cause of lung cancer and risk factors in its development
- Lung cancer testing and treatment
- Prognosis of lung cancer
The role of robotics in surgical oncology
In these sessions, speakers will discuss how robotic surgery can minimise the limitations of traditional laparoscopic surgery and improve clinical outcomes. The following points will be covered:
- Augmented reality
- Advances in the field of robotic surgery
- The advantages of robotic surgery in the treatment of cancer
- Evaluating the efficacy of robotic surgery
Cancer metastasis and drug resistance
When cancer leaves the site of its origin and spreads to other parts of the body, this is known as metastasis. In instances where cancer spreads from, for example, the breast to the lungs, it will still be referred to as breast cancer. Once metastasis occurs, effective treatment becomes extremely challenging.
Another challenge in the treatment of cancer is drug resistance. Oftentimes, chemotherapy or targeted drug therapy that show results initially, fails later.
These challenges will be addressed and the latest research in the following fields presented:
- How cancer spreads
- Antibiotics and Analogy
- Multidrug Resistance (MDR)
- Clinically reversing multidrug resistance
Advanced drug development in cancer treatment
The pharmaceutical industry continues to research and develop new cancer drugs. The following areas will be discussed in this regard:
- Drugs that are toxic to cancer cells (cytotoxic drugs)
- Molecular targeting drugs
- Optimization and integration of data from patients
Organising committee and speaker line-up
The line-up of organisers and speakers is impressive, boasting some of the top names in oncology research and activism, including:
- Marc Stewart - Medical Director, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
- David Smith - Department Chairman & Professor, Mayo Clinic
- Stanley P.L. Leong - Associate Director, California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute
- Jan Jacques Michiels - Founder of the Goodheart Institute, Blood Coagulation and Vascular Medicine
- Diane Radford - Breast Surgeon, Cleveland Clinic
- Raghu Pandurangi - Founder, President: Sci-Engi-Medco Solutions Inc. and Amplexi-LLC
- Raphael Catane - Chairman, Sackler School of Medicine
- Dimitrios H. Roukos - Founding Director, Centre for Biosystems and Genome Network Medicine
- Raghavan Rajagopalan - Chief Scientific Officer, Daya Drug Discoveries, Inc.
- Daniel Benharroch – Professor, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
- Alireza Heidari - Researcher, Department of Chemistry
- Piyush Vyas - Senior Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Medical University of Warsaw
- David H. Nguyen – Visiting Scholar, Stanford University Medical Center
- Addi Lang - Founder of Forever Changed Global Awareness Cancer Campaign
- David Salomon - Co-Founder of Forever Changed Global Awareness Cancer Campaign
1. Who.int. (2018). Cancer. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
2. National Cancer Institute. (2018). Cancer Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].