Exciting new developments emerge from the oncology and hematology fields constantly. While many changes unfold over time, some announcements, new discoveries, and novel products are unveiled at annual conferences. Major oncology conferences include those of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Important hematology conferences include the meetings of the European Hematology Association (EHA) and the American Society of Hematology (ASH).
Anyone who has attended one of these conferences knows there is an enormous amount of activity at any given time. There can be considerable pressure to take full advantage of every aspect of a major conference, which, of course, is impossible to do. It is not practical to attempt to absorb insights from every poster session, presentation, vendor demonstration, and key opinion leader (KOL) talk. Tools, resources, and a reasonable strategy are key in maximizing your conference experience.
One of your top priorities for the conference should be networking. Conferences are a unique opportunity to interface with other professionals in your field. After you’ve planned time for networking, you must then determine what presentations to attend in person, and which to miss.
But do you need to miss out on them entirely? What if there was someone who could take notes for you, relay the key takeaways, and send you the link to the presentation slide deck? This is where conference reports come in. These publications written by industry-informed professionals supply you with an enormous amount of valuable information from the conference. They provide a summary of every talk, including the relevant literature and publications presented, as well as insights gleaned from roundtable discussions among KOLs and industry experts.
What’s more, these reports are a resource you can take with you. They are yours to read at your convenience or revisit multiple times to fully understand a concept or nuance. You can use them to share information with colleagues and report back to your employer about what was presented and what you learned.
In fact, you don’t even need to attend a conference to get a conference report. You can subscribe and get coverage of the events you were unable to attend, so you don’t miss out on anything.
Current Disease Landscape
You may have felt like you understood a disease’s landscape before the conference, but how does that change with regard to the new data and insights revealed there? The report will give you a detailed look at how the data and insights emerging from the field may impact the current treatment environment.
In the report, you’ll find relevant summaries and quantitative analyses addressing various types of applications of the new data. Discussions on the utility of different drug therapies at various stages of cancer treatment, assessments of current standard-of-care practices, and information about drug utilization are among the topics that may be covered. The implications of new data on surgery, radiology, and other disease interventions may be discussed. Conference reports cover a number of relevant applications of new data to existing solutions and issues in your area of interest.
Gaining insight into pharmaceutical drug development for the treatment of a particular disease may be one of your goals at a conference. Conference reports can help you collate the information from various sources that might be presented on a particular type of drug or drug family. They may offer summaries and analyses of presented data, helping you sort out the aspects that are relevant to your area of interest.
You may also comb the report for information on emerging biomarkers in your disease of interest’s pathway. The discovery of a new biomarker or pathway is often a building block for novel drug development.
Analyzing patient metrics in light of new data can be powerful. Your conference report may contain epidemiologic information relevant to your current industry market. This can characterize the incidence and demographics of disease, as well as the outcomes and relevance of treatment.
It may justify continuing in a certain market strategy or treatment direction. Some results from analyses may indicate the need to shift focus or try a different avenue. Either way, conference reports represent a resource to help in these assessments.
Future Treatment Directions
One of the most important insights we can glean from a conference is a sense for the direction treatment is headed and the underlying reasons driving it.
The fields of oncology and hematology evolve quickly, especially with new insights gained from clinical trials. The conclusions derived from the quantitative analyses of clinical trials and epidemiologic studies are summarized in conference reports, and the supporting data are made readily available for further analysis and discussion. Reviewing this information and absorbing the KOL insights from the roundtable discussions (the summaries of which you will also appear in your conference report) can give you confidence in understanding the direction the field is headed and the reasons for it.
The report can also help you identify potential changes in treatment practices in your particular market. You may also see patterns in some of the information, trends, or needs that are not being met. This kind of awareness can translate to new possibilities and opportunities in your market.
Strategic Recommendations for Life Sciences Companies
Overall, we look to conferences to give us a one-stop-shopping experience of information, insight, and direction in the rapidly changing oncology and hematology fields. It is both exhilarating and overwhelming to try to take in all the new information, energy, and practical guidance at once. Conference reports exist to help sort the information so we can focus on the data and ideas that are most pertinent to our area of study.
By summarizing the data from numerous presentations, discussions, and workshops, the conference reports allow us to absorb the key takeaways and use the resources to dive deeper if we need to. Ultimately, conference reports deliver quality information and practical guidance on important meetings whose coverage may have otherwise been ad hoc and spotty. This gives us the ability to translate all of this information into actionable goals for our industry, for the end benefit of patients everywhere.