In an interview with Targeted Oncology™, Manmeet Ahluwalia, MD, discussed the importance of the Inaugural Miami Cancer Institute Precision Medicine Oncology Symposium, what to expect from his presentation on brain metastases, and what to expect from presentations by other experts.
Since the introduction of immunotherapies and targeted therapies, the solid tumor space has seen many improvements, according to Manmeet Ahluwalia, MD. To stay on top of the latest advances and discuss plans for the future of precision medicine, a new medical meeting has been created.
The Inaugural Miami Cancer Institute Precision Medicine Oncology Symposium, chaired by Ahluwalia, the chief of Medical Oncology, chief scientific officer & deputy director at Miami Cancer Institute of Baptist Health South Florida, brings together leading experts in oncology to discuss progress, unmet needs, and projects. On day 1 of the inaugural meeting, Ahluwalia’s own presentation focuses on the past, present, and future of precision medicine for patients with brain metastases.
“I think we have made tremendous progress in outcomes of patients for brain metastases. We now have targeted therapies and immunotherapies that are working extremely well for these patients. Traditionally, radiosurgery or focused forms of radiation were the foundation of treatment for these patients. I think the next 5 to 10 years will focus on how we can combine focused forms of radiation with targeted therapies or immunotherapies. We should also decide the scheduling and the sequencing of these modalities to provide more individualized efforts for our patients, in a multidisciplinary manner,” Ahluwalia told Targeted Oncology™, in an interview.
There are some unanswered questions around the use of precision medicine for the treatment of brain metastases, according to Ahluwalia. For example, there is not much literature on how to sequence the many available therapies for these patients. The next few years of research should focus on this question.
In the interview, Ahluwalia discussed the importance of the meeting, what to expect from his presentation on brain metastases, and what to expect from presentations by other experts.
TARGETED ONCOLOGY: Can you talk about the launch of Precision Medicine Oncology Symposium? What are the goals of the symposium?
Ahluwalia: As we all know, in the last decade or 2, we have made some phenomenal breakthroughs in the field of oncology, using genetic drivers of the disease and targeted therapies. This has led to improved outcomes for our patients. We would like the Precision Medicine Oncology Symposium to become a fertile ground for interactions of the audience with key opinion leaders to know the latest developments in the field. We also want this to be a place to discuss future projects and collaborations to improve outcomes of patients with cancer, not only in South Florida, but nationally and globally.
What are some of the topics being discussed by KOLs this year?
We decided to focus on all the topics in solid tumors. We have sessions on lung cancer, breast cancer, gastrointestinal oncology, gynecologic oncology, sarcoma, head and neck, and brain tumors. Other presenters and I will be discussing how the latest advances in the field of precision oncology is driving outcomes in the field.
What is important to note about your presentation?
My talk focused on brain metastases and how outcomes of patients with brain metastases have traditionally been dismal. On average, these patients only survive 9 to12 months. However, with advances in the field of precision oncology, in the last decade or so, we've made some major breakthroughs. We now have patients with brain metastases, EGFR-positive lung cancer, for example, who are now living 24 to 30 months. We have patients with ALK-altered lung cancer and brain metastases that on an average are living 5 to 6 years.
We've seen transformative changes in the field of brain metastases. Now, a lot of our research focuses on combining the targeted therapies and immunotherapies with forms of radiation. This is to see if the combinatorial approaches can further improve the quality-of-life of our patients and help them live longer.
What unmet news for patients with brain metastases do you hope to see addressed in clinical trials?
I think we have made tremendous progress in outcomes of patients for brain metastases. We now have targeted therapies and immunotherapies that are working extremely well for these patients. Traditionally, radiosurgery or focused forms of radiation were the foundation of treatment for these patients. I think the next 5 to 10 years will focus on how we can combine focused forms of radiation with targeted therapies or immunotherapies. We should also decide the scheduling and the sequencing of these modalities to provide more individualized efforts for our patients in a multidisciplinary manner.
What presentation has garnered the most excitement from attendees?
We have multiple key opinion leaders. I'm looking forward to talks from number of exceptional speakers we have at this conference, Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO, who is the chief medical officer at the American Society of Clinical Oncology [ASCO]. She is going to come and enlighten us about all the efforts which are being led out of ASCO, which is the largest global society of oncology professionals in the world. She is going to focus on some of the targeted therapy efforts that ASCO has led in last few years, what to expect from her and ASCO, and how we can work collaboratively going forward to improve the outcomes for our patients.