Seeking for Truly Personalized Medicine

The 24th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Breast Cancer Society
President Takuji Iwase, M.D.
Department Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Department, Breast Oncology Center,
The Cancer Institute Hospital

Takuji Iwase, M.D.(Department Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Department, Breast Oncology Center, The Cancer Institute Hospital)

The 24th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Breast Cancer Society, on the theme of “Seeking for Truly Personalized Medicine,” will take place at Tokyo Big Sight. This is the second consecutive Annual Meeting to be held in Tokyo, and I hope to present a new type of Annual Meeting that utilizes the large exhibition hall at the venue and makes a fresh start compared to past academic meeting formats.

This is the first Annual Meeting put on by the Cancer Institute Hospital since Dr. Fujio Kasumi, my former teacher and the previous department director, presided over the 6th Annual Meeting in 1998 (when the hospital was located in Otsuka). The Cancer Institute Hospital made the major decision to relocate from Otsuka to Ariake in 2005.

Due to this move, over the past 10 years a foundation has been constructed for the long-planned Breast Oncology Center, which has grown into a facility that handles over 1,000 primary breast cancer cases annually. The Center has been divided into different specialties with the aim of more advanced care for breast cancer. Each day, we work to integrate these specialties and leverage them in the medical care provided to patients. This time, I—a member of the surgical department—am the president of the Annual Meeting, but the Cancer Institute Hospital will launch concerted efforts by departments including internal medicine, Palliative Therapy, Radiation Oncology, Clinical Genetic Oncology, etc.

Breast cancer includes individual aspects. By categorizing it into subtypes and dividing it into broad groups, efforts have been made to personalize both medical care and research. Many clinical study results have been elucidated, and in some cases treatment methods have been applied as-is to groups that conform to the registered conditions of the studies. It is thought that the same results can be obtained by reproducing studies, but it seems difficult to say that personalization has been applied appropriately. I hope to approach truly personalized medicine—even to a small degree—by carefully considering the reasons behind the clinical study results, what happened with the patients, and several conceivable clinical conditions.

There are many academic meetings related to breast cancer, covering diverse topics such as surgical treatment, physical examinations, image diagnosis, and medical oncology. However, I believe the Annual Meeting of the Japanese Breast Cancer Society is a comprehensive academic meeting that draws together people from these fields in one place. Specialization is essential, but I also feel it is important for attendees to hear views from experts in other departments they wouldn’t encounter at these individual academic meetings. I wish to proactively offer opportunities for discussions of this type, and also for lively communication between participants in a wide range of fields.

Individuals experience different clinical conditions, and also have different backgrounds including their environments. I hope this Annual Meeting will be an opportunity to realize the importance of truly personalized medicine and work together to consider methods for achieving it.

I kindly ask for your attendance at the 24th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Breast Cancer Society.

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