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18 March 2013

IV Annual Conference Declared a Great Success

Hereditary and Familial Cancer in the Personal Genomics Era


The fourth annual conference has been the most successful yet; over 300 delegates attended over the two full days to hear 22 international speakers. Eduard Serra for the IMPPC organized the event with Gabriel Capellá, Ignacio Blanco and Conxi Lázaro of the Hereditary Cancer Program of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO).

Manuel Peruch, Director of the IMPPC and discoverer of the "mutator" phenotype introduced Stephen Gruber, who set the pace with his plenary lecture on "The Past, the Present and Future of Clinical Cancer Genetics".  He questioned what Genome-wide association studies would reveal as well as taking the audience on a tour around the field as it is today. Dr. Gruber's comments were challenged and lively debate continued throughout the conference as professionals from different disciplines discussed different lines of research and different approaches.

Sessions followed on Cancer Biology through the Study of Hereditary Cancer Genes, New Methodological Approaches Applied to Hereditary Cancer Analysis and then Hereditary Cancer Models. They continued with Hereditary Cancer: the State of the Art. This resumed on day two and was followed by Cancer Susceptibility: Modifying Hereditary Cancer Risk, Managing and Counseling Hereditary Cancer Patients in the Context of Personal Genomes and Therapeutic Approaches for Hereditary Cancer.

A vital factor in the success of the conference was the diversity of the participants. Biologists, oncologists, genetic counselors and public health policy makers discussed studies done in vitro, in vivo and in silico and debated studies relating to diagnosis, prognosis and treatments. Delegates came from all over Europe and from as far away as Brazil.

In his closing remarks Dr. Capellá stressed three main take-home messages: The field of Hereditary Cancer is changing dramatically in the wake of the appearance of the new genomics technologies. The increase in information is expanding knowledge but also providing new challenging questions. He insisted on the importance of changes in practice being evidence-based. Finally Dr. Capellá called on everyone present to be patient-motivated, whether dealing with a molecule, a cell, an animal, a tumor, a population or a computer. The patient remains the driving force.

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