The first workshop of the International Coalition to Prevent Inherited Cancer (IC-PIC) took place in Westport, CT on September 28, 2016.
“The goal of the meeting was to facilitate international collaboration and inspire creative research ideas,” said Dr. Thomas Bock, CEO, HeritX. “Our IC-PIC collaborators are all incredibly talented and work in diverse areas of research. It is critical to bring them together to share their work in order to accelerate the path to preventing BRCA cancers. Inevitably, new ideas are sparked, and that was certainly the case. The meeting was a great success.”
The participants shared progress in BRCA research projects underway since the international Banbury Conference for Preventing Inherited Cancer, held in late 2015. Research just in the past year has yielded exciting discoveries, such as the work being done by Dr. Peter Campbell of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. His work is uncovering mutational signatures and the earliest genetic changes in cells with BRCA mutations that lead to cancer development.
Ralph Scully of Deaconess Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston said “getting the mind focused on the scientific issues related to preventing these cancers is critically important.” The group agreed to expand the breadth of ideas for preventing BRCA cancers and to include the related technologies and experts into the Coalition in coming months.
All IC-PIC research is focused on the implementation of HeritX’s Roadmap to BRCA Prevention that was initiated at the Banbury Conference. The IC-PIC meeting was an opportunity for all of the investigators to share their progress with a diverse group of peers and spark solutions and new ideas through scientific exchange. John Reynders of Alexion Pharmaceuticals was the featured guest speaker. He discussed how studying genetic mutation carriers in whom disease does not manifest may hold important clues into factors relevant for BRCA cancer prevention.
“Our inaugural IC-PIC workshop was highly productive,” stated Pamela Muenster, MD, Co-Director Center for BRCA Research at the University of California San Francisco. “It was an incredibly engaged and exciting meeting that really built on the collaborative spirit and diverse experience of our team.”
To further accelerate progress on critical research priorities, the group decided to hold topic-focused workshops that will include an expanded panel of experts. The selected topics are:
- Faster Development of Preventive Therapies: Quantitative Tests for Cancer Risk and Accelerating Clinical Studies
- Genomic Stability: Overcoming the DNA Repair Deficiency in BRCA
- Stopping BRCA Cancer Before It Starts: Targeting the Earliest Steps in the Development of Inherited BRCA Cancer
“I feel very encouraged by the research momentum since our Banbury Conference and by the open spirit among this prevention-focused group. The Roadmap to BRCA Prevention is advancing well and in a good direction,” said Douglas Hager, PhD, HeritX’s SVP of Project Management after the meeting.
The HeritX IC-PIC is an international research network created by HeritX to accelerate the implementation of the research and development Roadmap to Prevention of Inherited BRCA Cancers through close collaboration and open scientific exchange. The IC-PIC includes a diverse set of renowned scientists, each of whom is determined to make prevention reality, brings a scientific idea to prevent BRCA cancer or an idea to accelerate overall research progress to prevention.
They include scientists from the Center for BRCA Research at the University of California at San Francisco, Harvard Medical School, the National Cancer Institute, the University of Toronto in Canada and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K.
The IC-PIC workshop—generously planned and supported by Harpreet Ram and her team at EVR Consulting—was chaired by HeritX CEO Thomas Bock and included all IC-PIC members together with the HeritX leadership team.