August 11th, 2011

Conference Spotlights Advances in Cancer Treatments

By msequeira
August 26 conference updates NM oncology care providers on latest research and treatments

Oncology care providers and research specialists from around New Mexico will gather at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center on Friday, August 26, for the 2011 Advances in Cancer Treatments conference. Organized by the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance (NMCCA) and co-sponsored by the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association (GAMA), this free conference will feature nine oncology physicians presenting research updates from key national and global conferences in their areas of expertise.

“The conference is designed to keep physicians and other oncology care providers ahead of the curve and aware of new and developing treatments for patients,” explained Teresa L. Stewart, MHA, Executive Director of the NMCCA and Director of Clinical Trials at the UNM Cancer Center. “We hope it offers attendees from around the state a view of what’s coming up—what treatments are not yet available, but will be soon.”


Conference background

Every year, organizations like the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) hold national meetings to present new science and clinical updates. The ASCO meeting is the largest of its kind in the world. While thousands of physicians nationwide attend and lead its sessions, oncology providers in smaller practices and more rural areas of the country may not be able to take part. The NMCCA addresses this reality by bringing the cutting-edge information from ASCO and similar gatherings back to New Mexico’s oncology community through its Advances in Cancer Treatments conference, now in its second year. Conference attendees include hematologists, oncologists, oncology pharmacists, oncology nurses and research staff from across the state.


2011 agenda

The 2011 program features themed sessions led by nine oncology experts from the UNM Cancer Center, Hematology Oncology Associates, the Cancer Center at Presbyterian and Memorial Medical Center:


  • Advances in Genitourinary Cancers: Malcolm Purdy, MD, Hematology Oncology Associates, and Medical Director, NMCCA
  • Advances in Gastrointestinal Cancers: William Adler, MD, UNM Cancer Center at Memorial Medical Center
  • Advances in Breast Cancer: Melanie Royce, MD, PhD, UNM Cancer Center
  • Advances in Pediatric Cancers: Stuart Winter, MD, UNM Cancer Center
  • Radiation Oncology: Sagus Sampath, MD, UNM Cancer Center
  • Advances in Melanoma: Monte Shaheen, MD, UNM Cancer Center
  • Advances in Thoracic and Head & Neck Cancers: Julie Bauman, MD, MPH, UNM Cancer Center
  • Survivorship: Dava Gerard, MD, The Cancer Center at Presbyterian, and Co-Chair, NMCCA
  • Advances in Gynecologic Cancers: Teresa Rutledge, MD, UNM Cancer Center


In addition to highlighting new and emerging treatments, conference organizers hope to underscore the importance of participating in the clinical research that makes such advances possible. Indeed, NMCCA participants have initiated or been involved in key studies that had led to several recent treatment advances. In melanoma, for example, clinical studies being conducted in New Mexico and elsewhere in the country are leading to significant new treatment options for advanced or metastatic forms of the disease.


NMCCA background

Established in 2004, the NMCCA has played a critical role in bringing more cancer clinical trials to New Mexico and thereby increasing the numbers of New Mexicans who benefit from cutting-edge treatments. The organization, headquartered at the UNM Cancer Center but operating as an independent nonprofit, coordinates an expanding network of healthcare institutions and approximately 120 cancer treatment physicians in central, southern and northern New Mexico. Clinical trial enrollment through the NMCCA has increased by more than twelvefold from its founding through today. Seventy-five percent of enrollments come from the UNM Cancer Center, with the remaining 25 percent from all other sites combined.


The NMCCA now coordinates the vast majority of cancer clinical trials in New Mexico, serving as a single point of entry for both providers looking to enroll patients in (or initiate) a clinical trial and pharmaceutical companies seeking to bring trials to the state. Before the creation of the NMCCA, few pharmaceutical companies would open trials here—the state’s sparse population made doing so cost- and time-prohibitive—and New Mexicans has less access to potentially life-saving new treatments than patients in other, more populated parts of the country. For physicians and hospitals across the state, the NMCCA makes research participation feasible by handling the paperwork, legal and regulatory issues and other administrative tasks associated with opening a


trial. And for the state’s cancer researchers, the NMCCA helps facilitate the translation of scientific discoveries into early-phase clinical trials held right here in New Mexico, ensuring that the fruits of homegrown research are available to New Mexicans.


“The NMCCA is bringing more options for cancer patients to New Mexico,” said Stewart. “We now have about 200 trials open at any given time, for many types and stages of cancer. For the majority of cancer patients in our state, this means they don’t have to leave home to take part in a clinical trial.”


Event details

The 2011 Advances in Cancer Treatments conference is organized by the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, in partnership with the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association. The conference will be held on Friday, August 26, from 7:45am to 4:45pm at the UNM Cancer Center auditorium, located at 1201 Camino de Salud NE, Albuquerque. Attendance is free; advance registration at is required. Check-in/breakfast begins at 7:45am. Welcome is at 8:20am and conference begins at 8:30am. Free lunch provided at mid-day.


Member of the media are invited to attend by prior arrangement with the media contacts listed below.


Media contacts

Dorothy Hornbeck, JKPR, (505) 797-6673,

Audrey Manring, UNM Cancer Center, (505) 925-0486,





Tags: clinical research, community, Press Release Archive 2011