Eric Rosenthal Reports

Thoughts and observations about issues, trends, and controversies in the cancer community.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Clarification about Charles Sawyers' Comment During ASCO Plenary Session


CHICAGO -- When AACR’s current President, Charles Sawyers, MD, was presenting his Science of Oncology Award Lecture at the start of ASCO’s June 2 plenary session here, he noted that he and ASCO’s new President, Clifford Hudis, MD, were not only colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center but also close friends as well who spent time spinning and bicycling together, and that the two would likely be issuing joint policy statements for their organizations – with the first perhaps as early as next week.


I followed up with both Sawyers and Hudis about these plans -- which came as a surprise to some insiders at their respective societies -- for clarification and learned that the promise of joint policy statements was probably premature.


“I may have spoken a little out of school since I was so caught up in the spirit of building bridges by leveraging our friendship,” said Sawyers, Chair of MSK’s Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program.


He added that at some time in the future ASCO, AACR, and about 60 other organizations would be announcing an initiative to share genomic information and although he and Hudis would be brainstorming together about broad principles of mutual interest to both AACR and ASCO, they were not quite at the stage of proposing specific policies.


Hudis, Chief of Memorial’s Breast Cancer Medicine Service, noted the long history of cooperation between the two organizations on science, policy, and research issues, as well as the fact that in April ASCO had supported AACR with its Rally for Medical Research.


“[This situation] gives us a nice opportunity to enhance that cooperation through our ability to communicate informally all year long,” he said, adding that he was surprised how many plenary session attendees evidently weren’t quite sure what “spinning” meant.