This historic meeting, held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 22–24, 2009, was the first joint meeting between the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the AANS/CNS Section on Tumors.
The meeting was a huge success, continuing the trend of years past with a record 600 abstracts presented and attendance of over 1,200 people. The meeting was co-chaired by Frederick Lang and Randy Jensen, assisted by a Scientific Committee composed of Abhijit Guha, Michael McDermott, Jeffrey Bruce, Susan Chang, Mark Gilbert, and Michael Vogelbaum, with Terri Armstrong organizing the Quality of Life sessions.The meeting benefitted from the generous sponsorship of many supporters this year. At the Leader level of corporate support were Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, and Schering-Plough; at the Benefactor level were AstraZeneca, the CERN Foundation, and Exelixis; at the Supporter level, EMD Serono; and at the Contributor level, the Tug McGraw Foundation, and Eisai. The SNO Platinum-level supporters were the American Brain Tumor Association, Genentech, EMD Serono, Schering-Plough, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, and the Sontag Foundation.
In the traditional format of the yearly Society for Neuro-Oncology Meeting, the joint meeting started with an education half-day, with the theme of “Personalized Medicine: Is it the Future or Now?” The goals of this education half-day meeting were to explore the application of individual data to better target, prevent, and treat a particular disease or condition. During the session, the use of personalized clinical, radiographic, genomic, and protein data, as well as personalized epigenetics, was explored. Two speakers each representing the specialties of pathology, surgery, radiation oncology, and medical oncology discussed the technology in their subspecialty and the application of this technology towards personalized medicine. These talks addressed the current status of these applications and the future of personalized medicine. In the beginning session on neuropathology, Kenneth Aldape described the “Predictive and Prognostic Value of Global Profiling Technologies in Neuropathology.” He was followed by Daniel Brat, who spoke on the “Predictive and Prognostic Value of Specific Molecular Biomarkers in Neuropathology.” The surgical session began with Christopher Nimsky, who spoke on “Technology Supporting Personalized Surgical Care.” He was followed by Cameron Brennan, speaking on the topic of “Clinical Decision-making in Surgery Incorporating Molecular Markers.” This session was followed by a session featuring two radiation oncologists: Kristina Tsien, who spoke on the “Technology Supporting Personalized Radiation Oncology,” followed by Minesh Mehta, who discussed the “Role of Molecular Markers in Clinical Decision-making in Radiation Oncology.” The final speakers of the education half-day were Timothy Cloughesy, who spoke on “Molecular Markers for Guiding Decision-making in Personalized Neuro-oncology,” and Mark Gilbert, who discussed “Molecular Markers for Guiding Development of Clinical Trials and Personalized Neuro-oncology.”
Of note, the morning also included the special concurrent session on “Enhancing Quality of Life Throughout the Illness Trajectory.” This was organized by Terri Armstrong from the MD Andersen Cancer Center, Kimberly M. Wallgren from the CERN Foundation and Jennifer Brusstar from the Tug McGraw Foundation. To begin this session, attendees were treated to a moving video-taped welcome message from musician Tim McGraw, who expressed his appreciation to the organizers and participants for the important work they are doing on behalf of brain tumor patients. Walter Baile then discussed “Good News or Bad: Communicating with Your Patient,” and Jeffrey Wefel spoke on the topic of “Chemobrain? Impact of Tumor and Treatment on Neurocognitive Function: What We Know, Where to Go.” This was followed by talks on “Radiation of Brain Metastasis, Toxicity and Interventional Trials” by Paul Brown, “The Other Health Care Professional: Training the Care-giver” by Harriet Patterson, and “Promoting Comfort and Choice at the End of Life” by Sherry Fox.
The Joint Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology and AANS/CNS Section on Tumors began on the afternoon of Thursday, October 22, with a moment of silence and remembrance in honor of Mike Traynor, President and Co-Founder of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, who had recently passed away. During the Introduction, notice was also made of the passing of Samuel Hassenbush, MD, PhD, for whom a talk later in the meeting was named.
The meeting then started with presentations of the top scoring abstracts. This session was composed of the eight top scoring abstracts of all of the abstracts submitted to the meeting. This preliminary session gave the general membership of the two Societies a chance to hear reports on a variety of great research, in both basic science and clinical research. During this session, the award for excellence in adult clinical research was given to Riccardo Soffietti for his paper, “Adjuvant Whole Brain Radiotherapy versus Observation after Radiosurgery or Surgical Resection of 1–3 Cerebral Metastases: Results of the EORTC 22952-26001 Study.” The award for excellence in adult translational research went to Aaron Tannenbaum for his paper, “Sunitinib Inhibits Glioma Growth by Blocking Progenitor Cell Recruitment.” The award for excellence in adult clinical research was presented to Mei-Yin Polley for the paper, “Six-month Progression-free Survival as an Alternative Primary Efficacy End-Point to Overall Survival in Newly-Diagnosed Glioblastoma Patients Receiving Temozolomide.”
The plenary sessions began with an open abstract session on Tumor Biology. Nine abstracts were presented in this session, and the award for excellence in adult basic research went to Lynette Moore for her paper “ IGFBP2 Is a Candidate Biomarker for INK4-ARF Status and a Therapeutic Target for High-Grade Gliomas.”
In the evening, a poster session and reception allowed attendees to mingle and review the incredible work being done by the members of the two Societies. The evening also included Satellite Symposia sponsored by companies with emerging technologies.
The following day began with sunrise sessions in which the topics of “Neurosurgical Oncological Endoscopy,” “Meningiomas: Current Basic Science and Clinical Treatments,” “Cancer Stem Cells; State of the Hypothesis” and “Metastatic Spine Tumors: Biology and Therapy” were addressed. In each of these sessions, a leader and three or four experts in the field discussed current issues related to the topic of their session.
The morning plenary session began with a presentation by the Farber Award winner, Peter Dirks. Dr. Dirks summarized his work on “Brain Tumor Stem Cells” and was well received. This was followed by an open abstract session on Medical Therapies.
After the open abstract session, the keynote speaker, Dr. Ramond Sawaya, addressed the topic of “Neurosurgical Oncology--an Indispensable Partner: Surgeons Can Be Involved in Neuro-oncological Research and Play an Important Role in the Neuro-Oncology Team.” After this interesting keynote address, the remainder of the afternoon was filled with concurrent open abstract sessions on the topics of Surgical Therapies; Experimental and Clinical Therapies; and Epidemiology and Quality of Life; Radiology; Pediatric Basic Science; Immunobiology and Immunotherapy; and Radiation Oncology. During the Epidemiology and Quality of Life session, the award for excellence in quality of life research went to Andrea Pace for her paper on “Palliative Home Care for Brain Tumor Patients: Results and Cost/Utility Analysis of 6 Years of a Pilot Project.” During the Pediatric Basic Science session, the award for excellence in pediatric basic research went to Robert Johnson for his paper on “Radial Glia Are Susceptible to Transformation into Ependymoma by Candidate Human Ependymoma Tumor Suppressor Genes (TSG) and Oncogenes.” The award for excellence in pediatric translational research went to Dominik Sturm for his paper on “Identification of SGK1 as a Novel Prognostic Marker for Disease Outcome in Medulloblastoma.”
That evening, during the second poster session, two awards were given for the best posters. A clinical poster award given to Gurpreet Kapoor from the University of Pennsylvania for his poster on the topic of “Perfusion-Weighted Imaging Identifies MR Surrogates of Malignant Glioma Molecular Subtypes.” A basic science award was given to Haizhong Feung from the University of Pittsburgh for research on the topic of “PDGFR Stimulates Glioma Cell Invasion Through Tyrosine Phosphorylation of a Bipartate Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor Dock180.”
As on Friday, Saturday morning began with early morning sunrise sessions in the format of “Meet the Experts.” In these well-attended sessions, the topics of “Epidemiology and Pharmacogenetics”; “Immunotherapy: Current Status of Clinical Trials”; “Medulloblastoma: Current State of Biology and Therapy”; and “-omics and Brain Tumors: Genomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics, Ubiquinomics” were addressed. The morning plenary sessions began with an introduction of the Hassenbusch Lecturer by Frederick Lang. This year’s Hassenbusch Lecturer was Katie Orrico, JD, who heads up the Washington Committee of the AANS/CNS. Ms. Orrico gave a wonderful talk that honored the accomplishments of Sam Hassenbush as well as outlined some of the difficulties facing neurosurgery in the upcoming health reform legislation.
The day concluded with plenary sessions on the topics of “Genomics and Proteomics,” “Stem Cells,” and “Pathological and Prognostic Markers.” The meeting adjourned at noon on Saturday, October 24, with a general consensus that combining the Tumor Section of the AANS/CNS Satellite Meeting and the Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting provided a wonderful platform for exchange of ideas between the two Societies. Many attendees expressed hope that this will be an ongoing recurring practice in the future.