27th - 28th Jun 2016
Dr Tabernero speaks with ecancertv at WIN 2016 about the highlights of the WIN symposium.
With consideration of novel technologies and patient perspectives, he summarises emerging fields from this years' meeting, and looks forward to future advances.
WIN 2016 highlights: Emerging technologies
Dr Josep Tabernero - Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Barcelona, Spain
Basically this is a very holistic symposium covering all the important fields on precision medicine and how we can move forward. So, for example, the first session that we had this morning actually was centred on the patient and the patient advocates because at the end all that we do is centred on the patient so we want to promote as much as possible really personalised medicine moving forward and implement it in the patients. So that’s why this session was very important. The next one was covering some important aspects on how new diagnostic tools may improve the way on what we have complete evaluation not only of the tumour, of the patients, but also in some instances the host because everything is important. This is not only related to genomics it’s also related to transcriptomics, proteomics, new technologies that are evaluating more and more these components of the tumour and also all the bioinformatics process that leads at the end to some meaningful information that can be translated into therapeutics. So this is really very important.
Also, fundamentally from a meeting like this is interaction that we have with pharma companies and there are going to be some seminal presentations on how can we especially combine new drugs because we know that the tumours are heterogeneous so we have different clones and drugs have to be combined. So this is a very important question, how we are going to be combining these drugs, targeted agents, kinase inhibitors and even with immunotherapy approaches because we have the revolution of immunotherapy but it’s still difficult to think about how we combine these drugs either all together or on the right sequence but obviously discussions on this are really very important.
Also, interestingly, we are going to focus on some tumours where we have been succeeding on how we can categorise and reclassify these tumours in different subtypes based on all these technologies, genomics, proteomics that I have mentioned before. So basically we have the example in colorectal cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer, examples of what can be done in these highly frequent tumours but also in other tumours that are more rare. Interestingly, we also have a whole session on how the dynamics of the disease can be evaluated because we are putting a lot of pressure in the tumours with new drugs, new targeted agents, even with immunotherapy. But the situation is that the tumour evolves over time, not only spontaneously but also due to the pressure that some of these drugs exhibit to the tumour. This is really very important, a very fascinating topic, but it actually helps us as clinicians to develop tools that can be easily accessed, for example the liquid biopsy but only looking to circulating tumour DNA now we are transitioning to other very interesting fields like mRNA and exosomes in the blood. This is still very experimental but we are completely sure that these technologies will add important information also on how to tailor the treatment over time.
Finally, we are going to end with another important session on how we can translate this amount of data, the big data that we have, into what is called smart data. At the end smart data is what we can translate to meaningful opportunities for the patients and there is going to be even a debate on the pros and the cons of this translation of big data to small data.
What do you expect or hope to see in coming years?
Out of this I think that the most important revolution is going to be on the new technologies, a chance to evaluate the dynamics of the disease, as mentioned, an important field for all kinds of liquid biopsies, that’s going to be one. The second one, also important for the patients or even more important, is how we use this information to tailor combinations of treatments including targeted agents and immunotherapy. Certainly some of the new clinical trials that are being generated by the WIN consortium actually are taking all these approaches, translating this to the ultimate goal that we want, that is the benefit for our patients.
We will do this for patients so that’s why they are in the centre of our consortium. Even we have members that are patient advocates in the consortium but also, as you have seen, in the WIN symposium actually we have the first, the plenary session, centred on the patients and the patient advocates.
What is special about the WIN symposium?
It’s a very unique conference because in two days, two busy days I have to say, you have a very holistic approach on the field of personalised medicine. That’s the beauty of the WIN consortium, so the members that we have represent not only academic institutions, they represent also pharma companies, diagnostic companies, patient advocates even drug regulators are coming to the consortium and the meeting. Actually with this interaction, because we have a lot of interaction, we can promote very rapidly the field of precision medicine moving forward to the patients.