“From Research to Action” Symposium Wrap-Up

Betsy Krugliak

Keynote Speaker Faith Fancher

Over the years, the bi-annual symposium has become a showcase that differentiates the CBCRP from other entities in vision, policies, and grant awards.

The symposium last March in Oakland was a hands-on example of the CBCRP’s objective to prevent, treat, and cure breast cancer; to disseminate findings; and to encourage new collaboration. A record-breaking 600+ participants represented leading voices in science, medicine, and community advocacy, from the public and private sectors, the general public, and the media.

Attendees devoted three intriguing days to activities where they could consider new possibilities, identify trends, recommend priorities, exchange ideas, challenge assumptions, and celebrate achievements. They shared their knowledge, concerns and hopes on behalf of women everywhere whose attentions are focused on breast cancer and on behalf of California taxpayers who make the CBCRP possible.

A provocative schedule of presentations and discussions fostered insights and collaboration among participants. The plenary session, “From Research to Action through Clinical Trials,” brought together renowned speakers from across the country: H. Kim Lyerly of the University of North Carolina, Zora Kramer Brown of the Breast Cancer Resource Committee, Patty Delaney and Patricia Keegan of the Food and Drug Administration, and Gwen Darien of Mamm Magazine. The panelists described what clinical trials are and discussed the salient issues around breast cancer clinical trial design, patient participation, and media interpretation.

Grant recipients shared their work in poster discussion sessions that included Killing Cancer Cells: Biology and Therapy; Breast Cancer Policy and Support; New Biomarkers and Screening Methods; Potential Causes and Risk Assessment; Biology of Disease Progression; and Hormones in Risk, Prevention, and Treatment.

Breakout sessions also provided an in-depth review of issues such as Racial and Ethnic Differences in Breast Cancer, Biomarkers, Early Detection, and Making Progress through Collaboration.

One of the most effective vehicles for collaboration occurred in the Community Research Collaboration (CRC) session. In this forum, CRC Award recipients and others who are involved in community projects exchanged strategies and delved into new collaborative possibilities.

The momentum of the symposium continued with keynote speaker Faith Fancher of KTVU Fox television. An award-winning journalist and anchorwoman, Faith shared her personal experiences as a survivor with the presentation, “My Journey through Breast Cancer: A Story of Faith.”

Another highlight event was a “fashion show,” featuring breast cancer survivors who modeled breathtaking original works of breast art.

New activities designed to increase communication and collaboration between science and the community also appeared on the schedule. An innovative discussion forum, “CBCRP Listens,” solicited questions and comments from stakeholders to assist the council in setting long-term priorities. In a steady stream of conversation, over 200 participants shared their views on funding-related issues, such as women of color and the underserved, environment, diet, criteria for funding, collaboration, treatment, alternative medicine, and earlier detection.

The symposium also encouraged networking between participants in varying fields. Introductions highlighted advocates and individuals who serve on the CBCRP panel of grant reviewers.

On a more informal note, participants literally gave their “two cents” to vote for future funding priorities. All it took was dropping coins into labeled piggy banks at the symposium. When the votes were in, the clear priority was prevention, with early detection in second place. Other rankings in order of priority were innovative treatments, pathology, racial and ethnic differences, normal breast biology, health policy, etiology, and socio-cultural issues.

The symposium also featured an incisive session on the history of CBCRP funding and emerging trends. With plans already underway for the 2003 Symposium (San Diego, Sept. 12-14), new areas are emerging as priorities for activities. The event promises to be a platform that encourages attendees to think outside of the box when it comes to breast cancer research and continue building a bridge between science and the community. Watch for more information about the 2003 Symposium on our Web site, http:// cbcrp.ucop.edu.