The Mass General Cancer Center hosted an international, multi-disciplinary workshop on March 4 and 5 to explore how advances in nanotechnology, molecular imaging, radiology, and other fields could lead to new strategies for improving cancer diagnosis and therapy. The meeting, “Enabling Technologies for Cancer Research: Imaging and Diagnostics,” was co-hosted by the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) in Barcelona, and sponsored by La Caixa Foundation, the largest private foundation in Spain.
Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, director of the Mass General Cancer Center, co-chaired the workshop with Josep Tabernero, MD, PhD, director of VHIO, and Mehmet Toner, PhD, Helen Andrus Benedict Professor of Surgery (Biomedical Engineering) at Mass General. Participants included 40 leaders in physics, chemistry, nanotechnology, oncology, diagnostic and therapeutic radiology, and other fields from a broad range of institutions, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, The Scripps Research Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Netherland’s University of Twente, Spain’s Institute of Photonic Sciences, Duke University and Vanderbilt University.
“Our goal for this meeting was to create an environment in which physicians and basic scientists in biology could interact freely with leaders in the physical sciences and engineering, some of whom had worked extensively with cancer researchers in the past and others who had not previously considered how their work might be applied to cancer,” Dr. Haber said. “Based on feedback from the participants, the meeting will lead to many new collaborations at the frontiers of cancer research.”
"The convergence of the physical sciences with cancer biology will undoubtedly help us to better address some of the many unresolved questions in cancer. This meeting marked an important step forward in initiating new partnerships aimed at rapidly advancing discovery towards improved outcomes for our patients," added Dr. Tabernero.
Keynote speakers for the event were Charles Sawyers, MD, chairman of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at MSKCC, and Gad Getz, PhD, newly appointed Director of Bioinformatics at the Mass General Cancer Center and Department of Pathology, as well as Director of Cancer Genomics Analysis at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.