One of the great things about travelling to scientific conferences around the world, is catching up with old friends, meeting new people, learning new things and also seeing some wonderful sights when least expected.

IMG_6038 Here's a quick shot I took at dusk on my 3G iPhone took walking from
the bus stop to the hotel I was staying in for the recent AACR meeting
on molecular origins in lung cancer. 

It was nice to get out at the end
of the day for some fresh air, but the sunset was certainly an added bonus and a heartening welcome after the chill of the East coast winter!

Some meetings you can get a decent flavour of what's going on from the press releases and reports coming out from good science writers, reporters and analysts such as Brooke Wang, Kerri Wachter, Mike Huckman and Roxanne Nelson.  You can't attend every conference, but you can trust in a few good men (and women) to tell the stories in a straightforward and accurate way.

After a while, I can tell who is actually reporting live from the meeting and who is just rehashing a press release or media briefing – the quality of the reporting and analysis shines through beyond mere data repetition :>}.

One of the biggest things I personally gain from being on the spot is the chance to interact with key opinion leaders and ask them questions.  Of course, you can do this by email or phone too, assuming you can track them down in a timely fashion, but checking the nuances on the spot is extremely valuable both for greater understanding and immediacy.

Right now, I'm following the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium from Fort Lauderdale on Twitter via the #GICaSymp hashtag.  Kerri is tweeting and reporting from there and several Pharma buddies are also attending and sending updates by email.  I'm particularly keen to hear what Dr Eric van Cutsem has to say in his update about KRAS and biomarkers from the CRYSTAL trial in colorectal cancer.