Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), recently spoke at the Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (IRCC) in Turin, Italy, on November 25. Her lecture was titled “Reflections on the Global Cancer Research
The audience included both senior and junior researchers at the IRCC, a nonprofit scientific and clinical institution in Turin that specializes in all areas of cancer research, especially translational cancer research. Its mission is to fight cancer through understanding the basics of the disease, offering state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic services, and leveraging the interface between molecular biology and medicine.
Dr. Foti’s comprehensive presentation on the “Global Cancer Research Landscape” covered three main points: the global status of cancer, the progress and challenges facing the cancer field, and what the AACR is doing to address global cancer incidence and mortality. Advances in cancer research, she explained, have led to cures for a number of different cancers, a higher quality of life for cancer survivors, and an extension in the lives of patients whose cancer cannot be cured. Yet the global cancer burden will continue to rise unless cancer becomes a global priority, with governments and the general public committing to more funding, education, and improvements in regulatory science and policy.
Dr. Foti emphasized these points by presenting data on cancer incidence and mortality in the world, Europe, and Italy. Major increases in incidence and mortality from cancer are projected to rise significantly by 2035, unless we stem the tide of this complex set of diseases.
Importance of Collaboration
Dr. Foti also discussed the importance of collaborations in tackling the toughest problems in cancer. With more than 35,000 members in 97 countries, the AACR has made collaboration a high priority, both in the United States and internationally. In October 2014, the organization opened its first satellite office outside the United States in Shanghai, with the goal of developing collaborations to maximize progress in the Asia Pacific region and around the world.
Further, as the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the AACR collaborates with SU2C and cancer research organizations across the globe in the oversight of a number of meritorious research grants. The AACR also partners with international organizations to host scientific meetings and workshops, including the prestigious series of annual meetings on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics held along with the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). ■