Yesterday was an unusually quiet day at the conference, with no formal oral abstract sessions, although there were various educational symposia running in a number of topics.  Depending on what’s happening in the particular disease and who is presenting, sometimes these can be exciting when the deep thinkers present the data in an interesting way and advance the field by asking the audience to consider things more strategically.

This year, there was no new data or ideas expounded in the sessions I chose, they were basically a run through of the old data with a couple of slides at the end listing a few compounds that are in development.  The pipeline in for hematologic malignancies is gradually gaining more attention from Pharma, which is great news, although they are probably a lot less crowded than the main solid tumours.

The Leukemia press briefing was informative and a number of abstracts were selected for discussion.  All of the presenters did an excellent job of summarising their data, which is embargoed until after the Plenary or Oral sessions on Sunday and Monday.

The leukemia highlights comprised:

  1. Dr Fielding: imatinib in Ph+ pediatric ALL
  2. Dr Rosti: nilotinib in Ph+ early phase adult CML
  3. Dr Cortes: ponatinib in advanced phase CML
  4. Anna Jankowska and Prof Maciejewski: TET2 mutations in myeloid malignancies

I will write more about the data after the embargoes have been lifted.

A number of people were tweeting snippets from the meeting and quite a few bots were posting various press releases.  There are a number of tools out there for showing the big picture around conferences and hashtags, which we’ve shared in the past on this blog.  The latest one I came across was shared by Greg Mathews (@chimoose) who kindly put this TPS (tweet positioning system) dashboard together:

You can check it out for yourselves by clicking on the tool link here.

The Highlights of the Day for me weren’t any of the education sessions, but rather took on a more human element, ie catching up with Twitter buddies in person.  It is always nice to chat with the excellent Jan Geissler (@jangeissler), who was diagnosed with CML in his late twenties and now does sterling work in CML advocacy and Silja Chouquet (@whydotpharma), who also used to work at Novartis like myself, but we never met until afterwards.  I love this photo taken during the conversation:

Later in the poster session, I tracked down Michael Becker (@mdbpartners) at the Semafore poster he was hosting for SF1126, a dual PI3-kinase-mTOR inhibitor being investigated in a phase I trial for B-cell malignancies.  Michael and I have been exchanging tweets during and after conferences for some time now but never actually met in person, so it was great to finally put the face to the Tweeter, so to speak.  A great guy!

Here he is at the SF1126 poster:

If you’re not watching Semafore and another PI3-kinase company, Calistoga, that I mentioned in my What’s Hot at ASH 2010 post, then check them out as they both have novel and interesting compounds that may be eventually licensed by pharma or biotech companies.  You can also read more about the background behind PI3-kinase as a valid cancer target here.