As ASCO celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding and its Annual Meeting, oncology professionals from around the world will gather to learn about, debate, and discuss exciting and practice changing advances in oncology.
“Throughout ASCO’s first 50 years, we have collaboratively made life-prolonging and life-saving advances across all areas of oncology,” said 2013-2014 ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “At the 2014 Annual Meeting, we will hear clinical and scientific results that promise to broaden and accelerate global progress against cancer.”
The theme of this year’s Meeting, chosen by Dr. Hudis, is “Science and Society.” This theme focuses on opportunities for the community of clinicians and researchers to lead all of society in the quest for knowledge and insight. It highlights the unique role that clinicians who treat cancer can play in closing knowledge gaps that can develop between those who work in science and those who govern and lead society. As the depth of our scientific understanding increases and the number of effective therapeutic options multiplies, there will be a growing need to communicate clinically important advances with precision and to convey the benefits of societal investment in science. Even within the increasingly specialized medical professional community, there is a growing need for ongoing and efficient communications so that everyone can keep up with advances in many areas of cancer prevention and treatment.
“Thanks to decades of societal investment, the problem of malignancy has never been better understood than it is now, and the number of thoughtful experiments to test rational interventions that capitalize on our growing understanding of all levels of biology has never been greater,” Dr. Hudis said. “Accelerating the pace of progress requires even greater long-term investment and even more societal support and vision. To accomplish this, we must continue to educate all of society, and I believe the oncology community has a rare opportunity to do this passionately.”
ASCO’s Education Program reflects the concerns, priorities, and issues that affect every oncology professional. Look for multidisciplinary sessions that emphasize collaborative care in the management of different cancers, topics relevant to daily practice, tools for delivering high-quality care, global health challenges in oncology, and understanding molecular pathways and genomics.
“We have a wonderful group of talks this year,” said 2013-2014 Cancer Education Committee Chair Gini Fleming, MD, of the University of Chicago Medical Center. “In almost every track, attendees will find a balance of overview and introductory content as well as more in-depth presentations,” accommodating learning at every level of expertise, particularly in emerging and rapidly changing disciplines such as immunology and genomics. Several themes emerged organically from the Education Program, which reflect the prevailing interests and concerns in the contemporary practice of oncology. Attendees will find discussions of cost of care and value integrated into many sessions; ample coverage of hot-button issues, including genomics, global practice and research, environmental and behavioral contributors to cancer (including obesity, vitamins, tobacco, and inflammation); and a look ahead to new scientific horizons and the future of cancer care.
A record 5,530 abstracts were submitted this year, with more than 2,900 selected for presentation in Oral Abstract Sessions, Clinical Science Symposia, or Poster Sessions—a testament to the robustness of clinical cancer research and the exciting advances occurring in labs and practices across the globe. In addition, more than 2,200 abstracts were selected for online publication.
According to 2013-2014 Chair of ASCO’s Scientific Program Committee Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, 2014 is a very competitive year, “with a record-breaking number of abstracts submitted, and I was extremely impressed with the overall quality of the abstracts.” The Committee’s goal in selecting abstracts, he said, “is to make sure we have the most current, cutting-edge science that is also of the highest quality—this is what our members and attendees have come to expect from the ASCO Annual Meeting.”
The Plenary Session, at which the most clinically significant abstracts are presented and discussed, will take place on Sunday, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM, in the North Building, N Hall B1. The Plenary Session will also be simulcast in the East Building, E Hall D1, and broadcast on ASCO Live.
Four abstracts have been selected for presentation. These abstracts examine combined treatment strategies across three common disease sites: breast cancer (hormone manipulation and HER2 blockade), colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.
“Whether you are a subspecialist or a general oncology practitioner, you are very likely to hear something at the Plenary Session that is going to be important to you and to your patients. These four abstracts are likely to change practice in the immediate future,” Dr. Wolchok said.
Three Post-Plenary Discussion Sessions, one for each disease site, will be held directly following the Plenary Session to allow for more discussion with presenters and speakers on the presented abstracts. The three Post-Plenary Discussions will be:
- Genitourinary Cancer
4:30 PM–5:00 PM, S100bc
- Gastrointestinal Cancer
5:00 PM–5:30 PM, S100a
- Breast Cancer
5:30 PM–6:00 PM, S100bc
In today’s climate of escalating health care costs and multiple therapeutic options, it’s more important than ever to focus on providing high-quality, high-value care for all patients with cancer. ASCO’s commitment to helping oncology providers and their patients understand the relative value of treatment options is reflected in this year’s Program, and attendees can expect to see conversations about value led by discussants in numerous Oral Abstract Sessions. Discussants with expertise in value in cancer care will participate in two Highlights of the Day Sessions and the three Post-Plenary Discussion Sessions, where they will provide context for the findings related to cost of treatment, adverse events, and outcomes, as appropriate.
“We’re trying to take a more in-depth view of the advances we see presented and appreciate them for the value they bring to our patients in every way—not just in financial terms, but in quality of life,” Dr. Wolchok said. He and the Scientific Program Committee workedclosely with Lowell E. Schnipper, MD, Chair of ASCO’s Cost of Cancer Care Task Force, to help prepare discussants to lead conversations about value during their sessions.
The purpose of these value discussions “is not to put a stake in the ground and say what is valuable or what is not,” Dr. Schnipper said. “We recognize that value is a relative concept that varies quite a lot depending on the disease circumstance.” He and other members of the Cost of Cancer Care Task Force have provided resources to discussants so that they can speak to “the relationship between the optimal outcome achieved and the resources required to achieve it,” he said.
As yet another way to address the concept of value from different perspectives and in different settings, ASCO Daily News has added a new column: Value in Cancer Care. The column includes editorials written from the perspectives of a clinical provider, a payer, a patient advocate, and industry, as well as commentary from Dr. Schnipper about the Clinically Meaningful Outcomes initiative, an undertaking by the Cancer Research Committee. The column begins with a session preview of Friday’s Extended Education Session, “Can We Find Common Ground? Stakeholder Perspectives on Value in Cancer Care,” to be held 3:45 PM-6:00 PM, S100a, and continues with an explanation of the evolution of the value discussion in Saturday’s edition of ASCO Daily News, Section A.
Opening Session: Presidential Address, Special Guest Speaker
The Opening Session will be held Saturday, 9:30 AM-12:00 PM, during which ASCO President Clifford Hudis, MD, will deliver his address on the theme “Science and Society.”
National Medal of Science recipient Leroy Hood, MD, PhD, President of the Institute for Systems Biology, will also speak during the Opening Session. Dr. Hood will discuss systems medicine and the revolution in health care and society, based on his research experience in molecular immunology, biotechnology, and genomics. He and his colleagues developed the DNA gene sequencer and synthesizer and the protein synthesizer and sequencer—four instruments that paved the way for the successful mapping of the human genome. He received the National Medal of Science, the highest honor the President of the United States can award a citizen, in 2011.
The Opening Session will also include recognition of the 2014 Fellows of ASCO, the presentation of the ASCO Humanitarian Award, and the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture.
50th Anniversary–Themed Sessions
In recognition of the progress against cancer over the past 50 years, the 2014 Annual Meeting program will feature 50th anniversary-themed sessions. These sessions will provide historical perspective and future directions in specific diseases and cancer topics. To locate these sessions, look for the special 50th anniversary icon in the Sessions-at-a-Glance grid in Section D or use the iPlanner.
Access to Abstracts
Abstracts selected for presentation and publication, with some exceptions, are available online at abstracts.asco.org. New this year, all abstracts to be released onsite at the 2014 Annual Meeting will be designated as Late-Breaking Abstracts (LBAs). These abstracts will be publicly released online at abstracts.asco.org on the day of their scientific or press briefing presentation, whichever comes first. LBAs will be available in Section D of ASCO Daily News on the day of their scientific presentation during the Meeting; abstracts presented on Tuesday, June 3, will be released on Monday, June 2. After all abstracts have been released, a PDF of the Annual Meeting Proceedings Part II—which contains the complete collection of full-text Late-Breaking Abstracts—will be available for download on the Attendee Resource Center.
Poster Highlights Sessions
In addition to General Poster Sessions, during which abstracts are displayed in poster format, attendees will have enhanced opportunities for networking in new Poster Highlights Sessions. These sessions will feature poster display and discussion of the top novel and clinically applicable posters by experts in the field. Networking tables will be available during the display of posters and during the last hour of the session, faculty will be on hand for questions and discussion. More than 540 posters will be presented and discussed during these new Poster Highlights Sessions.
General Posters, located on the right-hand side of the Oncology Professionals Hall, will feature more than 2,000 total posters throughout the course of the meeting and numerous ePoster stations. You may also view the participating posters at any Internet Station located in McCormick Place. General Poster information (times, topics, and authors) are available by track and by day in the Annual Meeting Program and the iPlanner.
Special Events and Opportunities
Maintenance of Certification Activities: Earn MOC Points
With the recent changes to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements, ASCO recognizes it is more important than ever to provide opportunities to earn points more frequently. The 2014 Annual Meeting features two activities to help attendees earn MOC points while attending sessions.
The Annual Meeting Core Session MOC Self-Assessment Activity is designed for attendees who want to refresh their knowledge, update their skills, or prepare for their board certification or MOC examination. Registrants have already completed a pre-examination to identify areas of educational need and received a list of suggested Core Education sessions that will fill knowledge gaps. An online postexamination will be completed to assess improvement after the Annual Meeting. After successful completion of the post-examination, participants will be eligible to claim 10 MOC points in Self-Assessment of Medical Knowledge. The registration deadline for the Core Session MOC Self-Assessment Activity has passed, but speak with staff at ASCO Central (Booth 7004) for more details or for details about 2015 offerings.
The Maintenance of Certification and Lifelong Learning Workshop is a 3.5-hour interactive session that will use audience-response technology to review one ABIM medical oncology self-evaluation program module. Each of the module’s 30 multiple-choice questions will be reviewed through detailed group discussion led by expert faculty. At the completion of the session, diplomates will be able to submit their answers to the ABIM for MOC credit. Registration for this session is open to all Meeting attendees; however, those enrolled in the ABIM Maintenance of Certification process will receive first priority.
The Maintenance of Certification and Lifelong Learning session will take place Friday, 1:00 PM-4:30 PM, and will use the ABIM 2013 Update in Medical Oncology module. Registration is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis at any of the satellite registration areas. Please note that this session is not available in the Virtual Meeting.
Annual Business Meeting
ASCO members are invited to attend the 2014 Annual Business Meeting on Monday, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM, S100a. The Annual Business Meeting will include a “State of the Society” report by ASCO CEO Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO, financial updates from Treasurer Susan L. Cohn, MD, and the opportunity to meet newly elected ASCO officers, including 2014-2015 ASCO President Peter Yu, MD, FASCO. There is no ticket required to attend the Annual Business Meeting, but members are encouraged to register in advance at am.asco.org in order to receive a complimentary boxed lunch.
TweetUp and social media opportunities
Connect with ASCO, colleagues, and attendees during the Annual Meeting through social media:
- Join ASCO’s annual in-person TweetUp Saturday, 5:45 PM-6:45 PM, in the Plate Room Food Court in McCormick Place’s South Building, Level 2.5. Visit tweetvite.com/event/ASCO14 for details.
- Follow @ASCO on Twitter and share your own thoughts on the science using the hashtag #ASCO14. Attendees have the option to include their personal Twitter handles on their badges to facilitate connection.
- Use #ASCO14 to tag your Annual Meeting photos on Instagram.
- Visit ASCOconnection.org and post your own commentary on the presentations or ask questions in the Forums (an ASCO.org member or guest account is required for login).
Member referral program, prize opportunities
Share the value of ASCO membership with your colleagues by referring them to join at the 2014 Annual Meeting. You will both receive a free gift, and you will both be entered into a daily drawing to win a variety of exclusive prizes, including 2015 Annual Meeting registration and hotel reservations, gift certificates to the ASCO University® Bookstore, and more. Current members will be entered into the drawing for every member they refer, and referral of three members earns an additional gift.
Bring a colleague who is interested in applying for membership to a Member Services area in Registration, Concierge Services, the Grand Concourse, or ASCO Central (Booth 7004) in the Oncology Professionals Hall. Potential new members can fill out and submit an application onsite—once the application is complete, you can begin taking advantage of some of ASCO’s member benefits, such as product discounts, immediately.
Attendee badge materials include a special Badge Ticket that can be entered for an opportunity to win an iPad during the Annual Meeting. Stop by any Member Services location to drop off your Badge Ticket and speak with a Member Services representative. The winning ticket will be drawn Monday, June 2, at 5:00 PM.
Conquer Cancer Foundation
The Conquer Cancer Foundation is challenging attendees to raise $50,000 over the course of the Annual Meeting to support the Foundation’s Mission Endowment, providing lasting support for some of ASCO’s most critical priorities. Donations can be made online at ccf.asco.org and onsite at the Donor Lounge (Room S401, open Friday through Monday). Donors are welcome to use the Lounge throughout the Meeting.
Attendees can participate in the Foundation’s Passport to the World of Oncology program for the chance to win prizes, including free registration for the 2015 Annual Meeting. Access your ePassport through the Annual Meeting iPlanner using your smartphone or tablet, and collect six text codes from participating exhibitors for a chance to win.
The Annual Meeting offers a unique opportunity to meet with colleagues, share ideas, and create foundations for future collaborations. Pull up one of over 5,000 seats available at networking tables located throughout McCormick Place, and take advantage of new programs and technology that will make connecting with colleagues even easier.
Take a break from your busy schedule to catch up with colleagues at a Networking Cafe. Each Cafe has tables with power outlets for charging devices and features ASCO Live (previously ASCO TV), where you can view live coverage of sessions. To locate seating locations, look for the power icon on the McCormick Place map.
The Networking Cafes are conveniently located throughout the convention center.
- South, Level 1 (near room S102)
- North, Level 3 (Grand Concourse Lobby)
- East, Level 2 (Hall E Lobby)
- East, Level 3 (D2 Lobby)
ASCO Book Club
Bring your lunch and join colleagues on Monday, 1:15 PM-2:30 PM, S103, to discuss the New York Times bestseller Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder. This book chronicles the inspiring story of Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, in his quest to improve health care in developing countries. All are welcome, even if you have not read the book. This Special Session will be moderated by Teresa Gilewski, MD, and Lawrence Shulman, MD.
Message and Networking Center
Use the Message and Networking Center to send a colleague a message to contact colleagues, make new connections, or find other networking opportunities. Search by name, institution, or specialty. Look for this new networking tool on the Attendee Resource Center.