Outstanding Young Minds

Observations from the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Research Retreat

On June 13 we held our annual Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Research Retreat. The day included 250 registrants, 120 posters and 20 oral presentations.

The retreat opened with an excellent keynote address by Dr. Marge Foti, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, who reviewed opportunities and challenges in cancer research. Discussion following the address included impassioned comments about the importance of advocating for cancer research from the mother of a young child with cancer. Dr. Foti’s talk, and the heart-felt comments from someone who was dealing with the human cost of cancer, did a superb job of putting the challenges, the opportunities and the importance of cancer research in perspective.

Most of the day was reserved for oral presentations and posters describing cancer research that is taking place at Iowa. Many of the talks were given by trainees. The quality of both the science and the way it was presented by these bright young individuals was on par with the best presentations I have heard at national meetings. They covered the depth and breadth of cancer research, and outlined a broad spectrum of exciting advances.

We spend a lot of time worrying, justifiably so, about the shrinking resources available to conduct cancer research at this time of unique scientific opportunity. At the retreat, I learned that there is no shortage of Holden’s most valuable resource–bright young scientists who are coming up with the ideas that will lead to the next great advances.

I always learn a great deal from listening to my colleagues present their work. One of the key lessons for me at the retreat this year is the need to assure this next generation of cancer researchers has the tools and resources necessary to leverage their immense talent and passion into advances that will help our patients in the years ahead.

George Weiner, MD
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Director