Molecular Medicine Tri-Con: Diagnostics, Drug Discovery Comes To San Francisco

“The Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference will take place in San Francisco, March 10-15. Since its debut more than 25 years ago, the conference has become one of the leading international events in the fields of drug discovery, development, and diagnostics.

This year, the conference includes three distinct programs: Molecular Diagnostics & Digital Health, Liquid Biopsy & Immuno-Oncology, and the inaugural Bio-IT World Conference & Expo West. Here are a few of the talks we’ve marked so far—and we’ve just scratched the surface!”
—The Editors

The conference’s plenary sessions kick off with Sarah Gray, author of A Life Everlasting: The Extraordinary Story of One Boy’s Gift to Medical Science, and Arupa Ganguly, Professor of Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, as they share their experience and perspective on biospecimen donation. Sarah will share how she anonymously donated her infant son’s post-mortem tissue for biomedical research to some of the most prestigious scientific facilities in the country, including the University of Pennsylvania, where Ganguly received her son’s retinas to study retinoblastoma. Years later, Gray tracked down each donation, meeting with researchers like Ganguly to learn how her donations are being used for medical discoveries. Monday, 5:15

Marty Tenenbaum, Founder and Chairman of Cancer Commons, will moderate a panel discussing the move toward a global, data-driven platform for precision medicine. William S. Dalton, M2Gen; Sara Gottfried,Metagenics; Gaurav Kaushik, Foundation Medicine; and Jeff Shrager, xCures will explore the opportunity and challenges that arise as big data, AI, and molecular medicine are revolutionizing healthcare. Despite progress, these advances have largely taken place in isolation from one another. To realize their full potential, they must be integrated into a synergistic global system that continuously learns from each and every patient and experiment. Tuesday, 8:15

As part of the opening slate of keynote sessions of the Circulating Tumor Cells and Liquid Biopsy track, Daniel C. Danila, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will be giving a critical assessment of the challenges of using blood-based biomarkers in prostate cancer from a clinical point of view. Monday, 12:20

The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s vice president, Richard L. Schilsky, will report on the Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study, a Phase II, prospective, non-randomized, multi-basket, pragmatic clinical trial that aims to identify signals of drug activity when drugs are matched to pre-specified genomic targets in patients with advanced cancer. Monday, 12:30

Non-responsive patient subsets remain a clinical challenge in immune-oncology treatment, says Zhen Su, EMD Serono. Su will address key questions as medical oncology evolves, such as, will combination therapy and patient selection result in increased patient response rates? And how can we best develop precision medicine approaches to ensure successful responses in real world settings? Monday, 2:40

Benoit Destenaves, AstraZeneca, is presenting on the opportunities and challenges of liquid biopsy IVDs for cancer immunotherapy. Next generation sequencing and liquid biopsies offer exciting novel opportunities to bring innovative drugs to patients, says Destenaves. But these opportunities do not come without challenges and will need to be resolved particularly when looking at genomic signatures such as Tumor Mutational Burden (TMB). Tuesday, 11:25

In point-of-care diagnostics, Gerald Kost, University of California, Davis, will address needs assessment and strategic planning for rapid diagnosis and treatment of Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients in Central Vietnam, a limited-resource region suitable for point-of-care testing (POCT). Earlier, Kost spoke with Diagnostics World about the future of POCT as it impacts the way first responders provide care in emergencies, disasters, and outbreaks. Wednesday, 11

In precision medicine, Niven Narain, BERG, discusses how the company is leveraging its proprietary intelligence platform to map disease to identify critical biomarkers that can accelerate the discovery and development of treatments aimed at the most promising therapeutic targets and pathways (Monday, 12:30). Bradley Perkins, Sapiens Data Science, will present his company’s digital health platform which provides personalized 10-year mortality risk, which has the  potential to incorporate new science more rapidly than existing mechanisms for translation of clinical evidence into broad scale adoption and use. Monday, Noon

Precision medicine has political implications as well. Hannah Murphy, For 21st Century Medicine, will break down the political landscape for precision medicine (Monday, 3:00). Cynthia Bens, Personalized Medicine Coalition, will highlight the evolving federal policies that are essential to the continued advancement of personalized medicine. Monday, 2:40

Moving from precision medicine to personalized medicine will require incorporation and synthesis of data from a variety of channels, Ken Carson, Flatiron, says. Carson will explore insights we are able to draw today from a combination of real-world clinical evidence from the patient’s EHR, matched with genomic analysis. Wednesday, Noon

Tuesday morning, Phil Febbo, Illumina, will discuss the path to clinical whole genome analysis as the standard of care. That path includes the continued application and publication of results, improved sample-to-answer sequencing technologies, and significant collaborative and industry efforts. Tuesday, 10:25

While Febbo is giving his talk, Ravi Kuppuraj, Philips, will be diving deep into wearable sensors and their importance in the complete digital health solution (Tuesday, 10:25). Later, Yu-Feng Chan, Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mt. Sinai, will provide use cases for the clinical utility of mobile devices, discussing the Mount Sinai Asthma Mobile Health Study, a research study conducted entirely remotely by smartphone. Wednesday, 2:00

In sample prep, assay development, and validation, Kathleen Kelly, National Cancer Institute (NCI), is presenting the NCI’s preclinical platform of PDX- and patient biopsy-derived metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) organoids that is experimentally facile for high throughput and mechanistic analysis (Monday, Noon). Helen M. Moore, NCI, will discuss the resources provided by the NCI to support the collection of high-quality research biospecimens, as well as new biobanking programs being developed under the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Tuesday, 2:10


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