Recap from the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Annual Meeting

May 22, 2014

Pablove at ASPHO 2014

The Pablove Foundation was proud to sponsor the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago last week. The gorgeous Palmer House Hilton was hosting the National Basketball Association pre-draft meetings at the same time, but it was easy to find the right rooms among the conference halls.

You just had to look for the people who were bursting with excitement.

The chance to learn about the latest research, connect with the medical community, and be a witness to conversations that spark collaboration is always a highlight of my year. The four-day long program provided a first-hand look at emerging research on proton therapy, tumor heterogeneity, reduced intensity stem cell transplant conditioning, and genomics and personalized medicine.

The Pablove Foundation’s Bronze Sponsorship brought a research session called “Management of Recurrent Sarcoma in Children and Adolescents” to the conference. Despite advances in many areas of pediatric oncology, the long-term prognosis for kids with relapsed sarcomas is extremely poor – averaging at just 30% survival. A packed house explored new data on managing recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, osteosarcoma, and other soft tissue sarcomas in kids.

Impressive studies and clinical trials are running on everything from immunotherapy for b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia to oncoprotein reversal in high-risk neuroblastoma. Among the conversations about “what’s next” a more pressing issue emerged – that of drug shortages affecting the pediatric oncology community. I was shocked to learn that $400 million is spent annually on managing cancer drug shortages. In the past decade, 8 out of 10 of the most common (and successful) drugs for treating childhood A.L.L. have been unavailable for months at a time. Although we get excited about (and need) many new drugs to treat childhood cancer, progress is powerless if we can’t keep the drugs we already have on the shelves. Look for more on this issue from The Pablove Foundation in the near future.

I live-tweeted many of the sessions at @pablovemegan, and relished the opportunity to meet face-to-face with so many of our new Pablove Shutterbugs partners, our Scientific Advisory Committee members, and our past Childhood Cancer Symposium speakers. It was especially exciting to see so many young investigators at the podium, or showcasing their work as a poster in exhibit halls. The future of pediatric oncology is bright.

– Megan McMillan, Community Affairs Director


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