April 19, 2009

Greetings from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR): Chief Scientific Officer, Louise Perkins

Greetings from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado!   This annual gathering is the most important cancer research meeting in the US, bringing together tens of thousands of research scientists and clinical researchers from around the world, with expertise in many different types of cancer, including multiple myeloma.

In addition to the scientific updates that will be presented over the next few days, one critical aspect from this convocation is the chance to meet with colleagues to explore innovative ideas and new approaches.  Several of us from the MMRF and MMRC capitalized on this opportunity to solidify existing and build new partnerships with biopharma companies to accelerate more treatments into myeloma clinical trials in the fastest possible timeframe.

Why is it so important to meet and work with these industry colleagues? Because they have the new drugs that could represent the next generation of myeloma therapies!  So, to ensure the most promising are tested in multiple myeloma, several us from MMRF (Joan Levy, Dan Cortright, Daniel Auclair and I) met with 8 companies over the span of 15 hours on Saturday. What did we learn and what was achieved? The MMRF and MMRC are clearly recognized as leaders among cancer non-profit foundations.  This reputation set the stage for the meaningful discussions we had.  The resulting innovative ideas may leverage the core strengths of the MMRF/MMRC but also depend on new models to prioritize, fund, and implement trials in this evolving field.

It’s hard to describe the level of enthusiasm apparent from many of the company representatives we met. For the most part, they clearly understand why the MMRF/C is such a special organization and how we are so well suited to advance new treatments into clinical trials.  They know that we are working for our patients and that it is in everyone’s best interest to cooperate because speedy trials mean drugs get to patients, a common goal for all of us.