The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting this year is focused on personalized cancer care. As a scientist/clinician, I am very encouraged by the progress we've made in the nearly twenty years I've been attending ASCO. We have moved from broad based chemotherapies to targeted agents--and this year ASCO is highlighting the significant strides we have made in the field of translational medicine, or treating patients from "bench to bedside."
I heard there are about 30,000 members of the global oncology research community here. For me, this is a time to renew old friendships, meet the next generation of cancer researchers, and learn about the recent advances in the field. It is also a time to reflect on how much further we still have to go.
At GSK, we've established a dedicated Oncology R&D Unit focusing on translational medicine and the next generation of cancer science. Our goal is to find the right drug for the right patient and identify ways of intervening as early as possible in the disease process. To help accomplish this, we have built a pipeline of medicines that includes biologicals, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, small molecules, and targeted therapies. We currently have ongoing studies with eighteen different molecules and our research focuses on seventeen different tumor types.
Our goal is to redefine and streamline drug development by, for example, stratifying patients at the inception of a study, combining the medicines in a way that makes scientific sense, and having a quicker read-out on results. We also are using a "bench to bedside" model where we take what we learn in the lab to the clinic and from the clinic back to the lab. This process allows us to, hopefully, better identify which patients will benefit from the new medicines and create medicines more uniquely targeted to a specific group of patients. Cancer research is a collaborative process--and we are currently developing our medicines in cooperation with 160 of the leading cancer centers worldwide.
ASCO 2009 boasts participants from more than 100 different countries and over 4,000 abstracts will be presented. Clearly, the fight against cancer is a global partnership with all of us trying to understand what advances will make a meaningful difference to patients. Together, we are focused on finding the treatments that will yield the best outcomes, minimize side effects, and reduce costs. I am proud of the role GSK is playing in advancing the science and working toward the goal of personalized cancer care.