Unique Global Symposium Suggests Vital Shifts in Cancer Treatment

Unique global symposium marries cancer and evolution, suggests vital shifts in treatment

More than 30 preeminent experts to present virtually; vast degree of structural disease change, high speed of cancer evolution, rarely considered until now

Date of Release:  Sept. 21, 2020

BOSTON, /PRNewswire/ — Evolutionary processes have made cancer supremely difficult to treat and cure – but evolutionary thinking could hold the fundamental keys to stopping cancer in its tracks. 

That premise, rapidly gaining momentum with outside-the-box cancer trailblazers, is the thrust behind a global “Cancer & Evolution Symposium,” held virtually October 14, 15 and 16.  

More than 30 leading scientific researchers, oncologists, and biopharma experts will participate as speakers and panelists from 8:30 am to 2 pm ET each day.

“We are not winning the war on advanced-stage cancers, when therapy resistance and disease spread often emerge suddenly,” said Frank H. Laukien, a lead organizer of the conference.  “The fact that tumors are constantly, rapidly transforming their genetic makeup is one reason late-stage cancers are difficult to cure.  This has spurred thoughtful leaders to take an evolutionary approach to tackling cancer.”

“We have yet to adequately capture the evolutionary capacity of cancer cells,” said Professor Henry Heng, Wayne State University. “Advanced stages of disease can be different from initial stages.  This massive genome reorganization produces treatment-resistant and more ‘fit’ species of cancer cells in just weeks.  We need adaptive therapies to combat this evolution process.” 

The symposium and marriage between evolution and cancer is expected to mark an inflection point for physicians and patients, addressing difficult but important issues:

  • Does the standard “maximum tolerable dose” of one single therapy, despite initial benefits, cause the disease to make a rapid evolutionary transition that inevitably does more long-term harm to patients, as resistance evolves?
  • Does the present treatment paradigm of not following up with secondary or tertiary therapies until after tumors reemerge demand reconsideration to extend more lives?
  • What are the critical biomarkers for screening to identify tumors before they have evolved beyond treatable stages?
  • Does this deeper understanding of these major evolutionary transitions in cancer offer new molecular targets for treatment? 

Registration is $250 for corporate participants; $95 for government, nonprofit or academic research; $25 for students, post-docs or retired/emeritus individuals.  A detailed agenda can be found at the conference website  Press may contact for free access. 

“Beating cancer means understanding how it evolves, especially in response to treatments,” said University of Chicago’s James Shapiro.  “If you hammer someone’s advancing cancer, you may eliminate 99% of the cells but the stressed 1% that survive shift into a rapid evolution mode and produce a tumor population resistant to your therapy.  Knowing how this tumor evolution happens is key to preventing it.”

The 2020 Cancer & Evolution Symposium is organized by a committee including:  Frank H. Laukien, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of Bruker Corporation; James A. Shapiro, University of Chicago, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Henry H. Heng, Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University; Denis Noble, Oxford University Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics; and Perry Marshall, Founder, $10 M Evolution 2.0 Prize.  Notable participants include Veracyte CEO Bonnie Anderson; Anna Barker, Chief Strategy Officer, USC Institute for Transformative Medicine; Steven Carr, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT; George Church, Genetics, Harvard and MIT; and Azra Raza, M.D. Columbia University and Author, The First Cell:  And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last.  More information is

SOURCE Natural Code LLC

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