The American Society for Clinical Oncology annual congress ended this past week, and as attendees arrive home, we reflect on what struck us at this year’s meeting.

Over the last few days more than 32,000 oncology professionals took part in the discussion and presentation of the latest research from around the world. Some truly groundbreaking studies reported out and had people talking, including:

  • Data revealed that adding ribociclib to hormonal therapy extends life in premenopausal women with advanced breast cancer
  • Two studies demonstrated immunotherapy pembrolizumab may work better as first line in certain patients with advanced NSCLC and gastrointestinal cancers
  • In a phase III trial, enzalutamide showed survival benefits in men with metastatic prostate cancer
  • An analysis of over 10,000 records revealed that broadening eligibility criteria would double the number of patients with advanced NSCLC able to enroll in clinical trials
  • A phase III trial showed that maintenance therapy with olaparib slows the growth of metastatic pancreatic cancer with a BRCA gene mutation
  • A phase II trial in advanced bladder cancer and other urothelial cancers showed patients responded to enfortumab vedotin in 40% of the cases

Outside the sessions, the exhibit hall had a similar feel to last year’s meeting. Just walking from the main entrance to the café area, one could consume enough specialty desserts, coffee, and various other booth-draw beverages to last a week. A few booths had some interesting activities to bring visitors into their thick-carpeted spaces:

  • AbbVie had one of the largest booths at the conference, centered on their new treatment for CLL. Other booths with the similar footprints included BMS and Celgene
  • Seattle Genetics hired a cake design team, building a massive landscape of Chicago with a timer counting down for 2 days until the cake was finished and ready to be sliced and served to attendees
  • Daichi Sankyo highlighted their ADC pipeline and oncology portfolio using a sand artist who continuously built creative stories that were projected live as she worked over the three days of the exhibit
  • BMS had a rotating conveyor with 3D molecules encapsulated in Lucite domes for visitors to place on digital screens to learn more about the pathway
  • Several booths had virtual reality stations, large interactive projection screens, molecule structures made from plants and flowers, and other items (in addition to food and beverage, of course) to attract visitors

Noticeably absent was the lack of negative buzz around pharmaceutical advertising. In previous years one of the hot topics included complaints regarding the amount of advertising at the conference center and around town. At times, this monopolized the onsite social media postings. While the volume of off- and on-site advertising didn’t change from last year, the complaints about advertising seemed at an all-time low.

It was a pleasure to once again represent Beacon at ASCO, attending sessions and walking the exhibit floor, and we look forward to seeing you next year! If you would like to learn more, click Contact Us and we’ll be back to you as soon as possible.

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