Anti-angiogenic approaches in cancer therapy show great potential in preclinical mouse models, yet to date this potential has not been fully realized in human cancer therapy. This 2-day conference titled, "Targeting VEGF- mediated Tumor Angiogenesis in Cancer Therapy," will be presented by the New York Academy of Sciences on June 19-20, 2014, in New York City. The conference will explore our understanding of the mechanisms impacting the efficacy of existing anti-angiogenic cancer therapeutics, including discussions on biomarkers undergoing validation that may predict resistance and overall clinical outcome, with the goals of improving current treatments and developing new anti-angiogenic strategies for cancer. It is anticipated that this event will convene 250 attendees ranging from basic scientists and clinical investigators in academia, industry, and government;oncologists;pharmaceutical strategists;and regulatory experts. The three central aims of this conference are to: (i) provide a neutral forum through lectures, a keynote presentation, interactive debates, and networking activities for discussing current hurdles and emerging innovative approaches to angiogenesis-targeted cancer therapy, such as inherent and acquired resistance, compensatory angiogenic signaling, vascular normalization, immune modulation, tumor-type, -stage and -environment related drug responsiveness, biomarkers to predict responsiveness and resistance, drug safety, and combination therapy approaches for improved efficacy;(ii) showcase and encourage the participation of early career, female, and underrepresented minority investigators via short talks, poster presentations/prizes, travel fellowships, career mentoring activities, and discounted registration;and (iii) foster collaboration among international investigators from all sectors to promote the translation of research into safer and more efficient cancer therapeutics. The conference goals align well with the mission of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support education in fundamental sciences and clinical disciplines relating to cancer, champion research projects in cancer control, and encourage cancer research by industry. In addition, the NCI's specific goal of collecting and disseminating information on cancer will be met through the publication of a post-conference, enduring, open-access, Section 508-compliant Meeting Report in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, which will distribute the scientific knowledge and ideas exchanged at the meeting to the global research and medical communities. This conference is especially timely given that a wealth of new data has emerged within distinct research areas (e.g., blood vessel formation and immune response) and from varied scientific approaches (e.g., animal models and human clinical trials). A collaborative examination of this new information among all angiogenesis stakeholders is therefore of significant value for guiding research forward in the field - particularly with respect to potential innovative therapeutic approaches, such as ways to circumvent resistance and the development of biomarkers for identifying responsive patients.
Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is an important process during normal human development. However, angiogenesis is also involved in pathological disease conditions such as cancer. A very large majority of tumors rely on a connection to the blood circulatory system for access to nutrients and oxygen, waste removal, and the spread of cancer to other parts of the body during metastasis. In 1971, Dr. Judah Folkman proposed that blocking the formation of new tumor blood vessels (i.e., anti-angiogenesis) might prove an important approach to cancer therapy because it would prevent tumors from accessing the nutrients they need to proliferate. A family of related proteins called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors (VEGFs) has since been shown to stimulate tumor angiogenesis. Researchers have developed therapeutic agents that can interrupt signaling by VEGFs, thereby destabilizing or inhibiting the formation of tumor blood vessels. Several of these drugs have been approved for the treatment of human cancers by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Although these drugs have demonstrated positive, long-term results in mouse disease models, they unfortunately have only extended the average survival of human patients by several months. Moreover, many patients either show an inherent lack of response or develop resistance to treatment. This 2-day conference will have an important impact on our understanding of the mechanisms of anti-angiogenic cancer drugs and causes of resistance. It will serve as a neutral forum to critically review new clinical data, to examine the potential of combining VEGF-targeted drugs with other therapies to improve efficacy, and to evaluate biomarkers as tools to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from treatment. This conference will convene approximately 250 visionary basic scientists and clinical researchers (from academia, industry, and government), drug development strategists, and regulatory experts to stimulate research on improving the safety and efficacy of angiogenesis inhibitors for the treatment of a large array of cancers. Open-access publication of the conference proceedings in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences is planned to disseminate the scientific information exchanged at the meeting to the global research and medical communities.