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International Symposium on Melanoma May Set Foundations for Clinical Decision Making

Sandra Kear
Published Online:12:10 PM, Tue January 5, 2016
International Symposium on Melanoma May Set Foundations for Clinical Decision Making

Omid Hamid, MD

The advent of targeted and immunotherapeutic approaches to manage melanoma and other skin cancers are rapidly changing the management of these malignancies, posing challenges to clinicians. The 12th Annual International Symposium on Melanoma and Other Cutaneous Malignancies® is a 1-day educational and scientific meeting that will address clinical topics aimed toward assisting oncology professionals to stay current and better serve their patients. The event will be held at the Eden Roc in Miami on February 20th, 2016.
This year’s sessions will focus on immunotherapies, targeted therapies, regional therapy, and integrated medicine/patient care. The symposium will offer access to renowned international experts in the management of cutaneous malignancies.
Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, deputy director, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center and professor of medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center will co-chair this year’s program with Omid Hamid, MD. Targeted Oncology had the chance to discuss the Symposium with Hamid, who is chief, translational research and immunotherapy and director, melanoma therapeutics at The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute in California.
TARGETED ONCOLOGY: What transformative treatments in melanoma will be discussed during the Symposium to assist oncology professionals in their clinical practice?
HAMID: There are multiple ‘new’ therapies that have quickly progressed from trials to the clinic. The first of these would be oncolytic therapy with T-VEC (Talimogene laherparepvec). This is a therapy for local and in-transit melanoma that has shown significant activity. Given that T-VEC is a new immunotherapy, with special considerations for injection and delivery, we will focus on this new class of therapies with a great discussion from Robert H. Andtbacka, MD. We will also discuss the expanded role of oncolytic therapy in combination with standard checkpoint inhibition.

Speaking of checkpoint inhibition, its role in the adjuvant setting and in the control of difficult-to-treat situations, including brain metastases, will also be explored. Most physicians today are aware of the combination approval of ipilimumab and nivolumab. At this meeting we will focus on the most recent data in relation to efficacy, toxicity, and management.
One new feature of the meeting will be the Medical Crossfire between Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD and Michael B. Atkins, MD in relation to immunotherapy versus targeted therapy in the first-line setting. It promises to be not just interesting and educational, but fun also.  I can’t wait!  
TARGETED ONCOLOGY: How will the Symposium assist oncology professionals in designing personalized treatment regimens for patients?

HAMID: Because the field has grown and treatment options have increased, the International Symposium will assist oncology professionals in understanding the role of newer therapies: targeted, immunological, and combinatorial for their patients. We will focus on the growing evidence related to predictive markers and prognostic markers that will help oncologists to make rational decisions in the first line and beyond. Newer data will be presented related to clinical options for patients who have now progressed on standard immunotherapy and targeted therapy, in an effort to emphasize the role of clinical trials in further improving patient outcomes. A participant in this meeting will get first-hand knowledge, based on experience, in relation to the newer therapies that have now been approved and are available in their clinics. It is hard to keep up with all of the data that has come out in the past 6 months in an ever-changing environment—at the International Symposium one can get top-of-the-line data from the pioneers in the field.  My favorite part of this meeting is the question and answer session and the patient cases that bring real-world situations in to the meeting.
TARGETED ONCOLOGY: What investigational strategies in late-stage development promise to further change the treatment of patients with melanoma in the near future?

HAMID: Newer checkpoint inhibitors (GITR, OX40, and CD40), tumor micro-environment targets (such as CSF1R and IDO inhibitors), and local injectables (PV10 and T-VEC) have changed the landscape of immunotherapy for melanoma.  
We have also seen the rise of bispecific antibodies, such as the Immunocore product, IMCgp100, which has shown minimal toxicity and the promise of response even in ocular melanoma. CAR-T therapy will also be discussed.
Of course, one cannot forget that the field of melanoma therapy has moved past single-agent therapy and is now focused on combinatorial therapy. With the recent approval of ipilimumab and nivolumab and the combination’s high response rate, we are now focusing on combination therapy. At the 12th Annual International Symposium on Melanoma, we will focus on newer combinations that have shown initial promises of higher response rates, with surprisingly low toxicities (IDO/pembrolizumab; TVEC/pembrolizumab; BRAF/MEK/PD-L1). 
TARGETED ONCOLOGY: Who will be the key speakers at the symposium, and what will be some of the key presentations of interest?

HAMID: Tara C. Gangadhar, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania will present on immunotherapy in the frontline setting. Michael Postow, MD, assistant attending physician and researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will detail new and emerging options for immunotherapy. Michael B. Atkins, MD, deputy director and professor at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center will review adjuvant options. Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, deputy director and co-director of the melanoma program at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center will cover options available for the patient with BRAF-mutant disease.
TARGETED ONCOLOGY: With the approval of immunotherapies for treatment in melanoma, how will this symposium help oncology professionals to make treatment choices in the first-line setting?

HAMID: As immunotherapy’s role has increased in melanoma, so has its role in the care of other solid tumors. With the recent approvals in lung cancer and renal cell carcinoma and the breakthrough designation for Hodgkin, Merkel cell, and bladder cancer, we are on the verge of clinics that mimic my research program—all patients being treated by immunotherapies and targeted therapies. Understanding the kinetics of response, toxicities, biomarker data, and role for combination therapy will be tantamount for success in the future for all of our patients. As combination therapies are coming for all of these solid tumors, this meeting can set the foundation for success and rationale treatment decision-making for a variety of patients. 
For more information, or to register for the The 12th Annual International Symposium on Melanoma and Other Cutaneous Malignancies®, visit http://www.gotoper.com/

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