Today marks the opening of the 36th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium – the largest and most prominent breast cancer meeting in the world – which Baylor College of Medicine proudly sponsors together with the American Association for Cancer Research and the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
More than 8,000 breast cancer physicians and researchers from around the world will travel to San Antonio to present the latest advances in basic, translational and clinical research.
Baylor College of Medicine faculty members have had a long-standing history with the meeting, dating back to the very first one in 1978.
Dr. Kent Osborne, director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center and the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at BCM and co-director of the symposium, reminisced on the first meeting and its evolution. Osborne was a faculty member at UTHSCA at the time the symposium started, before moving to BCM in 1999.
“The first couple of years were small symposia aimed at local doctors. There were probably 50 attendees but the speakers were real stars,” said Osborne. That included renowned breast cancer surgeon Dr. Bernard Fisher and his brother Dr. Edwin Fisher, a pathologist, who ran the National Adjuvant Surgical Breast Project, a clinical trials cooperative group. Internationally known Dr. Bill McGuire, who served as director of the conference, and Dr. Marc Lippman, a prominent researcher, also spoke that first year. “It was amazing that we could get these guys to speak at such a small meeting.”
When the group decided to invite doctors and researchers to submit abstracts of their research for presentation, the meeting began to grow more each year, eventually growing out of a small hotel conference room to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, where it is currently held.
Now, it is the premier breast cancer meeting in the world.
The meeting has been held in San Antonio every year. Osborne has served as a co-director of the symposium since 1992, and BCM a co-sponsor since 1999.
Smith Breast Center clinicians and researchers are involved in the organization, planning and preparations for the meeting throughout the year, and serve as moderators, discussants and forum leaders for the scientific, educational and career development programs.
Dr. Gary Chamness, professor in the Smith Breast Center, serves as program coordinator for the symposium.
BCM clinicians and researchers also get an opportunity to showcase their advances in breast cancer research.
This year Baylor College of Medicine investigators were involved in 17 accepted abstracts to be presented at the meeting. Additionally, nine Baylor investigators will present invited educational or forum talks, or serve as invited discussants.
-By Glenna Picton