Our first lab trip has been to Manchester, where we attended the 2nd Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence Conference. Daniel and Marta presented their latest work in the conference, which brought together world experts across a range of disciplines to discuss the latest advances in lung cancer research and how we can continue to drive forward progress, including the following:
After opening with Charlie Swanton and Caroline Dive's progress update on the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, Mark Krasnow and Tyler Jacks kicked-off the conference with two talks offering complementary perspectives on the development of lung cancers.
On the next day, we opened with three perspectives on the current landscape of early phase clinical trials. First up, Alice Shaw presented data on oncogene addiction and evolving treatment strategies for advanced ALK-positive NSCLC, while Enriqueta Felip covered the complexities of trial design and the synergy between molecular profiling and precision medicine studies. Gary Middleton then gave a lively overview of current lessons learnt from the National Lung Matrix Trial, touching on the impact of widespread IO availability.
To round off the morning, we went back to basics and explored discovery science and target validation. Asking: how does telomere crisis impact cancer?, John Maciejowski presented data linking APOBEC3B mutations with kataegis, observed following telomere crisis. Next up YinYin Yuan discussed some early data on NSCLC ecosystems and spatial diversification of immune infiltration which built on recent breast cancer work. Initial findings show that like ER+ breast cancer, increased immune hotspots correlate with poor survival in NSCLC. Trever Bivona finished off by highlighting the importance of combination therapy, guided by molecular analysis, to combat heterogeneity of tumour evolution.
After lunch, Matt Hellmann discussed a compelling case for using mutation burden as a biomarker for PD-1 immunotherapy but highlighted the need to determine how it can be scalable and applicable in the clinic. Pamela Ohashi then shared fascinating data on the ovarian cancer microenvironment which could also shed light on anti-tumour immunity in lung cancer. And we couldn’t forget tumour heterogeneity, with Nicky McGranahan sharing clinical data from the first 100 TracerX patients, concluding among other things that HLA LOH provides a mechanism of immune escape in lung cancer evolution and is associated with elevated mutation burden and immune activation.
After the break, Laurie Gasper, Eric Deutsch and Dirk de Ruysscher explored how multidisciplinary efforts are uniting insights from tumour biology, medical physics and engineering to improve radiotherapy efficacy and minimise side effects.And finally, Nick Lane’s keynote on the singular origin of complex life: including what happens if you force yeast cells to have sex more often. Vital questions indeed.
On the last day, we had the chance to meet Anton Berns over breakfast. We then had two incredible keynote speakers, Harry de Koning and Julien Sage; sessions on early detection with Pierre Massion, Avrum Spira and Sam Janes, biomarkers and imaging discussed by Thomas Wurdinger, Hugo Aerts and Shannon Scott; and another appearance from tumour evolution and heterogeneity, from Nicholas McGranahan, Matthew Meyerson and Nicolai Brikbak. The final keynote speaker was Julien Sage, who described his latest research in small cell lung cancer.
We had an amazing time sharing our research and meeting leading scientists in lung cancer research from all over the world. We can't wait for the next one!
Marta, Daniel, Ferda and Estela at the gala dinner.