National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
August 9, 2011 • Volume 8 / Number 16

Community Update

Translational Science: From Molecular Information to Cancer Medicine

NCI Translational Science Meeting 2011 banner

More than 800 extramural and intramural researchers, patient advocates, industry representatives, and government officials convened on July 28 and 29 at the NCI Translational Science Meeting 2011 in Washington, DC. Hosted by NCI and co-chaired by Dr. Jennifer Grandis of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. James Griffin of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the meeting explored the convergence of molecular information and clinical care, with the goal of accelerating early translational cancer research to speed therapeutic benefit to patients.

The meeting featured renowned cancer scientists who presented research in a variety of areas. Each day started with a keynote address and a set of three different "Galvanizing Examples." During these Galvanizing Example sessions, scientists presented their translational research stories and shared their expertise and lessons learned in the successful translation of their project. The research presented underlined the promise of how molecular information has and will lead to more effective cancer detection and improved treatments for patients.

The main objectives of the meeting were to enhance opportunities for productive collaborations among all attendees and encourage cancer investigators to consider other potentially effective approaches to translational research. To that end, the meeting introduced speed poster presentations, during which selected abstract submitters had 3 to 4 minutes to share key information about their work and ideas for future collaborations. Attendees were encouraged to identify partnerships and exchange ideas with colleagues who share similar interests through tsm3Linked, a social networking site created for the meeting.

A variety of panel sessions highlighted the challenges and lessons learned in using molecular information in translational cancer research. These panel sessions were organized by experts in the field and designed to be interactive. Each session allowed time for discussion and questions from the audience. In addition, members of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) program held a workshop to inform attendees about key TCGA resources available to the scientific community. For the first time, TCGA released outputs from the Broad Institute's Firehose data analysis pipeline for review and discussion.

The meeting underscored NCI's commitment to link and foster collaborative research efforts among government, academia, and other stakeholders to bridge the divide between basic and clinical sciences to ensure that discoveries are translated into therapies for patients as quickly as possible.

The opening plenary sessions, Galvanizing Examples sessions, and Dr. Varmus' address to attendees  from day 1 and day 2 are available via videocast.

—Jennifer Kwok and Elizabeth Dean of NCI's Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials