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Interview with SABCS 2022 Co-Director Dr. Virginia Kaklamani

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

In advance of the 2022 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), Doximity spoke with Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, the symposium’s co-director. Dr. Kaklamani is a professor of medicine in the hematology/oncology division at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center San Antonio, as well as the leader of the Breast Cancer Program at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center. She elucidated her expectations about SABCS 2022, prior to the meeting.

Doximity: How would you characterize the theme of this year’s symposium? What key topics stand out to you most, and what major questions will be addressed?

Virigina Kaklamani, MD: This year the word is innovation. The meeting itself has several new sessions and we are excited to see how the attendees receive them. In the virtual world we all live in, we felt that we need to give an incentive to people to come to San Antonio. This incentive is conversations with the experts. It’s a dialogue that will show controversies and discuss solutions. We have a session discussing the big questions in breast cancer. Other sessions will be discussing clinical and translational controversies. And our case discussions, which are always very well attended, will allow attendees to discuss their challenging cases with experts.

Dox: What conversations are you hoping that the conference fosters? 

VK: I hope that clinicians and basic researchers come together and talk about how we can design future clinical trials so that we can find cures for breast cancer.

Dox: Is there a speaker or presentation you are most looking forward to, and why? 

VK: We have a special symposium to honor Dr. Kent Osborne. Dr. Osborne was one of the founders of the meeting and his work has improved our understanding of the pathway leading to estrogen resistance. The crosstalk between ER and HER2 is one of the mechanisms of resistance and the focus of the session will highlight all this work and shed some light on what is to come.

Dox: What do you believe sets this year’s conference apart from previous years’?

VK: This year we have uncovered a new therapeutic category of breast cancer-HER2-low. One of the special sessions will be focusing on this and helping physicians understand it better. But honestly, this year we have incorporated several new sessions to SABCS that show us how quickly our field evolves, such as molecular tumor board as well as clinical and translational controversies where experts discuss topics that are typically debated during our weekly tumor boards.

Dox: What are three major takeaways you hope physicians get from the conference?

VK: I want them to network. I want them to meet with basic scientists and understand their challenges and help them understand our world. A direct communication between the physicians and the bench researchers is the only way we can progress in our field. I want them to learn how to incorporate the latest clinical trials into their practice and I want them to ask themselves and us the big questions that will lead us to improve outcomes for our breast cancer patients.

Dr. Kaklamani has no conflicts of interest to report.

Illustration by April Brust

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