BWH’s Monica Bertagnolli at this year’s World Medical Innovation Forum

BWH’s Monica Bertagnolli at this year’s World Medical Innovation Forum

Cancer experts from around the world—including many from the Brigham—conveyed a resounding message of hope as they discussed innovation in cancer prevention, detection and treatment at Partners HealthCare’s second annual World Medical Innovation Forum (WMIF).

The three-day forum, held April 25 to April 27 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston, hosted compelling events that brought together titans of industry and top cancer experts to collectively explore the latest advancements in cancer research.

“The issue before us is how to improve access to treatment for all of our patients: How do we get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, knowing that there’s now a combination of precision medicine, immunotherapies and cancer vaccines to amplify how a patient responds to treatment?” said BWHC President Betsy Nabel, MD, who spoke on a panel titled “Curative Therapies: The Economics of Game-Changing Science.”

Many of the events centered on fostering collaboration as part of innovation. During the “Discovery Cafe,” renowned leaders in the field interacted with small groups of attendees who registered in advance to discuss topics such as immunotherapy, diagnostics, therapy resistance and pathology.

The importance of partnerships in cancer research cannot be understated, says Monica Bertagnolli, MD, chief of BWH’s Division of Surgical Oncology and co-chair of this year’s forum.

“We think of multidisciplinary cancer research as coming from basic biologists, cancer surgeons, medical oncologists and so on, but to be truly innovative, we’re also looking to better engage researchers in fields like pathology, psychiatry and imaging—people who are invested in cancer but knowledgeable in many other areas, which is the beauty of a multidisciplinary approach,” she said.

Brand new this year was the “First Look,” which featured rapid-fire presentations by early-career researchers and clinicians about their cutting-edge innovations, including new therapies for metastatic cancers and the use of image-guided surgery in BWH’s AMIGO suite. Learn more about these technologies and read additional coverage of the forum at