The fourth annual symposium of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme (28.01.19) was attended by over 150 delegates. The first Keynote talk from Professor Per Hall, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, focused on risk-stratified approaches to breast cancer screening / early detection and the second Keynote from Professor Robert Steele, Chair of the UK National Screening Committee, discussed the development of current and future screening programmes.
One highlight of the day were the presentations from three multidisciplinary groups of researchers who had got together to discuss the question “what will the early detection of cancer look like in 20 years’ time?”. The session was chaired by biotech entrepreneur Dr Andy Richards, CBE who recounted his attendance at a similar discussion 20 years previously, at which it was agreed that there was no future in antibody therapies!
The groups had been encouraged to think as “blue sky” as they wished and the resulting short presentations were entertaining, but contained parallels across all three visions such as the move to more personalised medicine, the increased use of AI and the question of the ownership of personal data. The audience used their phones to vote for the team which, in their view, gave the most compelling vision of the future and prizes were awarded to the winning team.
Four early-career researchers, who had presented abstracts to the event, were given the opportunity to present their research and it was most encouraging to see the work that is going on in very diverse areas. The quality of their short talks was exceptional and attracted many positive comments.
Twenty posters were displayed in the foyer of the CRUK Cambridge Institute covering a very broad range of early detection research. Congratulations to Dr Gahee Park for her winning poster Detecting aggressive prostate cancers early by integrating multiple tumour-specific markers in cell-free DNA.
The Early Detection Annual Symposium is now a firm fixture in the calendar and we hope to see you there in 2020.