Meeting Report: Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress
November 18-21, 2015
Ana Neto, Postdoctoral Fellow, Ceol Laboratory, UMass Medical School, USA
I had the opportunity to attend the Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress in San Francisco, CA (18th-21st of November). Several aspects of melanoma research were covered: genetics, genomics, immunotherapy, models of melanoma, targeted therapy, and resistance to targeted therapy, between others. The goal of the Society and the meeting is to promote the unification of the field by improving the communication between different areas of melanoma research. Approximately 1200 delegates with different backgrounds basic, translational and clinical research attended this meeting. Several companies that supported the meeting were represented in exhibitors (Novartis Oncology, Amgen, Genentech, Brystol-Myers Squibb, Merck and Castle Biosciences Incorporated).
This meeting had oral communications from great speakers. A. Hunter Shain gave an insightful talk about the genetic evolution of melanoma from precursor lesions. Sean Morrison shared his new results about how oxidative stress restricts metastasis spreading to distant locations. Marcus Bosenberg showed how melanoma genotype defines melanoma phenotype using mice as model system. In Ashani Weeraratna’s talk we could learn that aging could affect the signaling of melanoma cells. These were only a few examples of the talks that the attendees from this meeting could enjoy. Liz Patton and Jacqueline Lees were amazing ambassadors of the melanoma research using zebrafish as model system. They delivered great talks where they refer the potential of the zebrafish for melanoma modeling and chemical screening. Indeed, Lees’ laboratory just developed a model of uveal melanoma that recapitulates the human disease, where new drug therapies could be screened. The participants from zebrafish laboratories were only a few: Milena Zimmer (Richard White’s laboratory), Mitch Levesque and students, Penny Lovat and myself (from Craig Ceol’s laboratory) (I hope I didn’t miss anyone). It would be good to increase the participation of zebrafish researchers to this type of meetings to enhance the impact and visibility of zebrafish as a disease model, so we improve funding in our research.
The congress has several moments for social interaction, breakfast, lunch and dinner for the SMR awards ceremony. The work of James P. Alison, Suzanne Topalian, Daniel Peeper and Georgina Long was recognized and it was also a moment of mixing between all investigators.
It was an enthusiastic meeting and the next year’s venue will be in Boston, a meeting organized by Keith Flaherty.