From its earliest days, the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s annual scientific symposium has drawn national leaders in cancer research to share their insights on early research developments and their potential clinical implications.
This year’s symposium, the 40th annual, will continue this tradition when researchers come together April 11-12 at The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill to discuss the latest developments in targeted cancer therapies, which are treatments designed to interfere with specific molecular pathways of cell signals that go awry in cancer. Symposium organizers say targeted treatments are considered to have been a major leap forward in treatment for cancers like metastatic melanoma, but drug resistance remains an obstacle.
“This year’s symposium is focused on what is perhaps the most significant signaling pathway in cancer – the RAF-MEK-ERK pathway,” said the symposium’s co-organizer Channing Der, PhD, a UNC Lineberger member and Kenan Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the UNC School of Medicine. “Because of its significance in cancer, there has been a lot of drug discovery that has focused on components of this pathway, and a number of these drugs are approved for patients. The question is now: How do we improve these drugs so that there are benefits to the patient in the long-term?”
Symposium presenters include scientists and clinicians who were involved in the development and assessment of now-approved targeted treatments, Der said.
“This symposium represents a convergence in the growth of basic science combined with huge strides in the pharmaceutical industry,” said symposium co-organizer Albert S. Baldwin, PhD, UNC Lineberger’s associate director for basic research and the William Rand Kenan Professor of Biology at UNC.
UNC Lineberger’s symposium has tracked advances in the understanding and treatment of cancer. The first symposium was held in 1977 – after the center received its designation from the National Cancer Institute in 1975.
The second year of the event was focused on combinations of chemotherapy drugs, which are nonspecific treatments designed to kill rapidly dividing cells. In that year, the keynote address was delivered by George H. Hitchings, PhD, a Nobel Laureate and adjunct professor emeritus of pharmacy at UNC who worked at Burroughs Wellcome & Co., a company in the Research Triangle Park that eventually became part of GlaxoSmithKline. He was Hitchings was an early pioneer in discovery and development of drugs against cancer.
This year's symposium, “Molecularly Targeted Cancer Therapies from Bench to Bedside,” will be held April 11-12 at The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill. Thanks to event supporters, attendance is free. There is a cost for an optional lunch, which is $16 per day.
Registration is open online through 5 p.m. April 6. On-site registration will also be available.
The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education
100 Friday Center Dr,
Chapel Hill, NC