First Ever Cure4Cancer Conference Hosted In New York

Global stakeholders convene at the Asia Society in New York to advance Global Health Equity and Harmonization

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), the Chinese Thoracic Oncology Group (CTONG), and Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) co-hosted the first Cure4Cancer conference in December 2023 at the Asia Society in New York City.

Who Attended the Conference?

Cancer experts, public health leaders, CEOs of major biotechnology companies and hospitals, patient advocacy groups, and cancer survivors joined together to discuss their strategies to advance global health equity.

What is Cure4Cancer?

Cure4Cancer is an international movement that brings together patients, clinicians, scientists, policymakers, regulators, industry, philanthropy, the media, and other closely related stakeholders to work together in the global fight against cancer. This conference welcomed over 200 industry experts to move the global society closer to accomplishing the objective.

Conference Highlights

Opening Remarks

The conference began with opening remarks from Bob Li, MD and MSK’s Physician Ambassador to China and Asia-Pacific. He spoke of the importance of global cooperation, including U.S.-China collaboration, to find a cancer cure. “The United States and China are major victims of cancer,” said Dr. Li. “The two countries that share the highest burden and represent almost 38% of cancer deaths.”

He said many of these lives could be saved if the two countries  collaborated on clinical trials, as reported in  the Cure4Cancer task force’s recent report, “Advancing Global Health Equity: Enhancing Clinical Trials Access and Cooperation to Save Lives from Cancer.”   

Shelly Anderson, MPM and MSK’s Hospital President and Lisa DeAngelis, MD and MSK’s Chief Physician Executive, joined Dr. Li and fellow leaders on stage to share their perspectives to advance the mission.

“To accelerate clinical trials, it is essential that we collaborate with multiple stakeholders worldwide. That is what is truly unique about Cure4Cancer,” said Shelly Anderson. “We have academia, government, media, advocacy, think tanks, philanthropy, all coming together because it takes a village.”   

Dr. Lisa DeAngelis added, “Ending cancer has been MSK’s singular mission since 1884, and clinical trial R&D is central to the mission. It is the soul of the Cure4Cancer international movement.”

Following the opening remarks, there were a series of panel discussions about critical issues.

International Regulatory Harmonization and Collaboration for Accelerating Cancer Cures.

Larry Norton, Senior Vice President, Office of the President, MSK, noted that one of the greatest hinderances to global regulatory harmonization today is the lack of clinical trial data sharing across borders. The first panel emphasized the need to collaborate, especially since there is a 6-12 month lag in regulatory approval that exists between the U.S. and other countries and in many other cases it can be as much as 2 to 3 years.

The panel also stressed the importance of including low-income countries, because they do not have the opportunities to involve themselves in clinical trials. Additionally, by expanding access to more participants and fostering data sharing across borders, the clinical trial treatment development process will be accelerated.

Promoting Patient-Centric Clinical Trials 

When discussing how clinical trials can be improved for patients, Simon Powell, Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at MSK, noted: “Patients want answers, they want answers and they want them quickly. In picking up on a theme from earlier, our role as physicians in a clinic is to design the trials so they are not massively cumbersome and can be executed in a reasonable timeframe.” Lillian Leigh agreed: “Inclusion of patient and care-givers voices in clinical trials is so important.”  

Expanding Global Health Equity in Clinical Trail Access and Participation

The third panel shared examples of the benefits of collaboration and the potential going forward. Tolulope Adewole, MD and managing director of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority’s Medserv, shared his experience. “There was a study at the University of Chicago, and they couldn’t get enough people, but they came to MedServ and within six months we were able to recruit 60 people for them,” said Adewole. “With collaboration, we will actually get faster and be able to treat people.”

The 6th Annual MSK-CTONG Symposium

The Cure4Cancer team then hosted the 6th annual MSK-CTONG symposium, which featured five scientific panels, including medical professionals from Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Nigeria, Switzerland, U.K. and the U.S. Topics ranged from leveraging artificial intelligence in oncology to clinical trial training and education to advance towards the goal of global health equity.

Previous MSK-CTONG Meetings’ Recaps