My advice to young oncologists coming into this great field is to retain a sense of urgency!
—Emil J. Freireich, MD
During my Presidency, we decided to increase ASCO’s size to give clinical investigators a better position in the medical world. To that end, I decided that the Society needed its own journal. At that time, we sent our papers to Blood or Cancer Research, where, in my estimation, they received poor treatment. I charged the Science and Publications Committee to develop a plan for the new journal. Led by Emil Frei III, MD, the committee worked long and hard to design guidelines for the journal and to select its first editor, Joseph R. Bertino, MD. The Journal of Clinical Oncology was born, and its continued success as one of the nation’s top-ranked journals is very satisfying.
I also felt that ASCO needed to generate more income than it was getting from membership dues. I decided to bring in commercial exhibits, which helped transform the Society. For one, we now had enough money to support our publication and help us initiate grants and educational programs.
Unlike other scientific societies, ASCO focused on patient-oriented studies. It’s great to cure mice and treat cell lines and isolate genes, but if we’re going to cure cancer, it is going to take talented physicians working at the bedside and in clinical trials. All of our patients are battling a lethal disease, and my advice to young oncologists coming into this great field is to retain a sense of urgency! ■
The last 50 years have been marked by significant advances in cancer research and in more effective therapy for patients. Once viewed as a largely untreatable, fatal disease, today a number of cancers are being converted into chronic diseases that can be managed for long periods of time. The result ...