Update from ASCO Breakthrough Asia Conference 2023

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Published: 4 Sep 2023
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Dr Roselle de Guzman - Manila Central University-FDTMF Hospital, Manila, Philippines

Dr Roselle de Guzman speaks to ecancer at SEABCS 2023 about her talk on updates from the ASCO Breakthrough Asia Conference 2023.

At the ASCO Breakthrough Asia Conference 2023 scientists, clinicians, novel drug developers as well as tech experts work together in sessions on how new technology and innovations are transforming approaches to cancer care.

She highlights a selection of the keynote sessions that took place at the conference on topics such as photoimmunotherapy, artificial intelligence in radiology and minimal residual disease.

Dr Roselle de Guzman also outlines some key sessions that focused on cancer care in low-middle income countries (LMICs). She concludes by explaining that in the future they hope to see further developments in big data and multi-model machine learning innovations that can be made accessible in LIMICs and improve cancer survival outcomes.

The ASCO Breakthrough Conference is the second meeting that was conducted and just recently concluded in Yokohama, Japan, about three weeks ago. So this is a one-of-a-kind meeting where scientists, clinicians, novel drug developers, as well as tech experts were together and talked about sessions about new technology, innovations. They showcased how this new technology and innovations are transforming how we do cancer care and how this could potentially improve the way we treat our patients.

Can you tell us about some of the latest innovations from the ASCO Breakthrough Asia Conference 2023?

These are keynote takeaways that I have learned from most of the keynote sessions. There were three sessions that were presented: one is an illuminating session being given by Mickey Mikitani of Rakuten Group and Rakuten Medical. So he showcased his humble beginnings and how his company was able to develop the photoimmunotherapy for cancer. 

Another keynote session that was given by Dr Maryellen Giger. She passionately talked about how artificial intelligence was now being put into practice in radiology. So those early thoughts were really very inspirational and how artificial intelligence is now being used in breast cancer screening. There were also very interesting sessions about novel therapies, about minimal residual disease and the need for how this can be put into clinical practice and can change our clinical decision making as clinicians.

So there were exciting sessions that were showcased and this is a good opportunity for me to share those with colleagues here in Vietnam as well as the rest of the Asia Pacific.

Were there any sessions that focussed on LMICs?

There was an interesting session that was chaired by Dr Peter Yu, the lecture was presented by Dr Gilberto Lopes who is a very strong advocate on access in cancer care. Dr Gilberto Lopes focussed on how essential medicines can be enabled in low and middle resource settings, including increasing the capacity of countries in this region to have the availability of medicines. He also talked about how innovative the ATOM coalition is, it’s the Access To Oncology Medicines which is a huge project with several key stakeholders on how groups of collaborators and partners are really pushing forward on how to enable these medicines, including targeted and immunotherapy, to be available in limited resource settings. So these are exciting ways or exciting opportunities that clinicians, patients, advocacy groups are looking forward and being hopeful that medicines like the new drugs, immunotherapy, of course, and targeted therapy, will be utilised in our settings.

Anything else to add?

From the ASCO Breakthrough additionally there were sessions about big data, the use of multimodal machine learning. We are very hopeful in seeing how these further develop and how will this impact later on, not only the practice in high income countries but how this can be translated to LMICs and hopefully our patients here will be able to get access to those technologies and innovations and hopefully be able to have better survival outcomes.