11 March 2020

Spotlight on Breast Cancer: looking back at our first clinical workshop this year

Throughout the year, Oncode Institute organizes various workshops and trainings to share knowledge and facilitate collaboration. Organized in Jaarbeurs, Utrecht - the Breast Cancer Workshop was the first clinical workshop this year.

Bianca-Olivia Nita

Chaired by clinician Agnes Jager and Oncode Investigator Jos Jonkers, the workshop welcomed a mix of 65 basic and clinical researchers, clinicians and also industry representatives, for a full day event filled with presentations and discussions. Some of the topics covered included molecular imaging, microenvironment, tumour heterogeneity, pathology, liquid biopsy, immunotherapy, inter-patient heterogeneity, and matching patient and therapy.

Oncode Investigator Wilber Zwart (NKI) was one of the speakers and he mentioned that there are many things that keep him awake at night. Among them is the fact that model systems don’t model, biology is heterogeneous and affected by treatment, since the tumour evolves under detection pressure. New models need to be based on patients – was his conclusion at the end of his presentation during the workshop. And the idea behind having researchers and clinicians meet for such an event is precisely that: to explore how fundamental research can address unmet clinical needs, and to discuss current trends and challenges.

One central theme discussed during the event was different patients having different sensitivities to therapies. Because the tumour is so highly heterogenous and since there are a lot of different breast cancer types, there is a need to find ways to predict which treatment works best for each patient and prevent overtreatment.

The workshop was also a great opportunity to network. Some participants planned follow-up meetings, which could set the seed for possible new translational and clinical collaborations.

The attendees found the event useful, the presentations well-prepared, and the idea of having research and clinic meet in one place - a good and much needed opportunity. One participant’s description summed it up well: ‘As scientist I love the ‘basic research’, as medical advisor I love the ‘clinical perspective’.

Next workshop & Clinical Proof-of-Concept fund
We look forward to the next workshop on the topic of Melanoma. More information will follow soon.
Oncode Investigators can still submit proposals for the Clinical Proof of Concept fund. Please contact Marlinde Smit for more information.

Marlinde Smit Programme Manager

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