David Rimm, MD, PhD, is a professor of pathology and medicine, director of the Yale Pathology Tissue Services, and acting director of Molecular Diagnostics with the Yale University School of Medicine. He serves on the Molecular Oncology Committee for the College of American Pathologists and has authored or co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed papers. In the following interview, Dr. Rimm discusses what he’s looking forward to learning during the Annual Meeting, as well as advice for first-time attendees.
Daily News: What inspired you to return to the ASCO Annual Meeting this year?
Dr. Rimm: Oncologists are our biggest clients, and the ASCO Annual Meeting shows me what they are thinking and where they are going next. Things change every year, and I return to the Meeting in order to keep updated on future directions and key new drugs in oncology and how they will affect pathology. This is especially important now that there are companion diagnostic tests for many cancer therapies. I also attend the Meeting to interact with vendors. I think it is valuable to see how pathology companies market to oncologists.
Dr. David Rimm
Dr. Rimm: Perhaps the hottest topic in oncology is immune checkpoint therapy. There is very little agreement on which tests to use and how to read them. However, in the next few years the assessment of PD-L1 or other immune checkpoint markers are likely to become critical tests in pathology. I need to learn as much as I can about immune checkpoint therapy and the companion diagnostic tests associated with each therapy. The main take away I anticipate this year is the current status of immune checkpoint therapies and the status of companion diagnostic tests associated with these new drugs.
Daily News: What advice do you have for other pathologists on how to optimize their Annual Meeting experience?
Dr. Rimm: The ASCO Annual Meeting has something for everyone. Focus on your specialty and the progress and new drugs in your field of interest. I struggle to attend all of the sessions I want to see and inevitably miss things. But don’t worry, presentations are online on the ASCO Virtual Meeting (asco.org/vm) for you to view later. The ASCO Annual Meeting provides you with a great opportunity to network with oncologists and other pathologists that spend time thinking about companion diagnostic testing. Also, attending the Plenary Session is really useful. You’ll hear about state-of-the-art topics and future directions in oncology.