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Early Detection International Webinar: Looking beyond scopes, scans and smears - the future of cancer screening

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For the sixth talk in our international early detection webinar series please join Dr Sana Raoof, MGH Cancer Center and Grail Bio. Sana will speak on Looking beyond scopes, scans and smears – the future of cancer screening

Talk abstract

Since the 1971 “War on Cancer” in America, hundreds of billions of dollars and countless careers have been faithfully invested into cancer research in America. An explosion in our knowledge of modern biology over the last 30 years has transformed the world of therapeutics but not the world of diagnostics. Research on drug development and the basic mechanisms of cancer have improved survival time in select metastatic cancers, but science has not driven an appreciable decline in the incidence of metastatic cancer to begin with. Why is our science not translating to significant improvements in overall survival, what are the economic and clinical reasons for this stagnation, and what can we do about it? This presentation will introduce liquid biopsy technology: a tool (now in clinical trials) utilizing our modern biological insights in order to screen healthy populations for cancer with the intention of downstaging the landscape of oncology. The basic science, as well as the future clinical, regulatory, and business opportunities it will create, will be highlighted.

Speaker biography

Sana Raoof is a graduate of the Harvard MD-PhD program with a strong interest in early cancer detection. Her graduate research at MGH Cancer Center focused on drug development for oncogene-mutant non-small cell lung cancer developing resistance to targeted therapies. During this period, 1) the general limitations of drug development in qualitatively improving outcomes in oncology, 2) the predominant focus nationally on drug development for metastatic cancers rather than early detection and prevention efforts, and 3) the lack of modern cancer biology being utilized for standard cancer diagnostics versus therapeutics sparked an interest in shifting research focus. She subsequently became involved in the development of multi-cancer early detection technology via DNA methylation-based liquid biopsy. She is a resident physician at MGH and provides medical testimony at NY/MA state and local government in favor of anti-tobacco legislation of varied forms. For her scientific and policy efforts, she was the Intel Young Scientist of 2008, received the 2015 National Excellence in Public Health Award from the Surgeon General, and was on Forbes 2020 list of the “30 under 30” in Healthcare.

This talk is part of the Early Cancer Institute Seminar Series series.

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