I left NBCC’s Summit on the Prevention of Metastatic Breast Cancer feeling encouraged…..and overwhelmed. Organizing the Summit was the easy part, and now the hard work begins. The Summit provided the spark, and now we must fan the flame and build a bonfire.
I believe we accomplished our goals of challenging a diverse group of scientists and advocates to look at breast cancer metastasis in new ways, and of fostering new collaborations to focus on the problem. Many researchers said they would be going back to their labs with a completely different perspective on research into preventing metastasis, and would be looking at their own projects and data in new ways. One had this to say in a follow-up email:
“The questions you and your team had defined, plus all of the thoughts and plans we compiled in response, apparently now become a fixture in my thinking. I seem to constantly mull these ideas over. They pop into context when I now look at our own data and those of others.”
New relationships and new connections were made, between researchers working on the molecular level and those with new animal models and systems approaches, between translational researchers and theoretical and computational biologists, and of course, between advocates, including some living with metastatic breast cancer, and researchers working in all areas. We had amazing discussions about possible approaches that aren’t receiving much attention or resources today, on ways to obtain convincing evidence, and on how to best, and most efficiently, get results into the clinic.
At the Summit, three working groups of researchers and advocates crafted specific recommendations for future work to get us to an understanding of how to prevent breast cancer metastasis by 2020. We are currently working with the science writers who attended the Summit to draft a report of those recommendations. We will post a summary on our website as soon as it is available. In the meantime, we continue with the hard work of changing the conversation – one conversation, one email, one blog, and one tweet at a time.
I would love to see your comments here – reactions, ideas, thoughts, research links, anything constructive – whether you attended the Summit or not, to help build that bonfire.