Exciting New Directions for Oncology Data Advisor: Live From ASCO 2023 With Dr. Thomas Abrams, Editor in Chief

At the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Dr. Thomas Abrams, Editor in Chief of Oncology Data Advisor, previewed some of the latest updates on Oncology Data Advisor and the new directions that will be taken in 2023, including new ways of partnering with patients to strengthen the patient voice and ultimately improve quality of care.

Oncology Data Advisor: Welcome to Oncology Data Advisor. Today, we’re here at the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago, and I’m joined by Dr. Tom Abrams, who is our Editor in Chief.

Thomas Abrams, MD: I’m so happy to be here. It’s been a great meeting, and I’m just happy to get in front of the camera here and do a podcast.

Oncology Data Advisor: Yes, definitely. How are you enjoying your time at ASCO so far?

Dr. Abrams: It’s been great. It’s a whirlwind of a meeting, but you get to reconnect with a lot of people you don’t get to see, who live in different parts of the country, and the energy here is unlike anywhere else. It’s exciting for oncologists, for sure.

Oncology Data Advisor: Definitely. It’s also an exciting time at Oncology Data Advisor. We have a lot of new initiatives going on, including the new Fellows Forum, which is our resource for hematology/oncology fellows. How do you think these resources help our audience, and why should readers utilize them?

Dr. Abrams: Fellows are the next generation. Without the next generation of oncologists, we’re not going to continue on. It’s vital that fellows feel supported and that they feel they have resources to learn from. Of course, they’re going to be able to pick the brains of their mentors and the folks they see patients with, but an online resource dedicated to fellows is absolutely vital. And I think what you’re doing is fantastic.

Oncology Data Advisor: One of our goals at Oncology Data Advisor is to make our content as relevant as possible for our audience and to cover a broad range of subject matter. What is your perspective on covering both the triumphs and the challenges in oncology?

Dr. Abrams: This is a great question. I think Oncology Data Advisor does a wonderful job of interviewing the thought leaders who are doing the trials, who are pushing the field forward, and that is vital. One of the things that I think we can do and do better is really talk more clinically—discuss how certain people who are experts in the field treat the diseases they treat and talk about specific clinical questions that are conundrums and may not have specific data to guide the way we treat. Having an expert to just guide you through those decisions is great. I know it’s one of the thrusts of 2023, and I think it’s an excellent one. I do think there’s a lot that Oncology Data Advisor can do, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Oncology Data Advisor: Definitely, and we’re glad to have you as a part of it. What are some of the directions or ideas you have for this coming year that you’re looking forward to taking?

Dr. Abrams: I’m looking forward to having panel discussions about specific clinical questions, developing the Fellows Forum to the point where it becomes a really exciting resource for the fellows, and partnering with patients and patient advocacy groups to get their perspectives. I think one of the things that is missing is the patient voices. If we could have those, I think we’ve really hit all three categories of data, clinical decision making, and the patient perspective. Once you have all three, you’re really a one-stop shop for oncology, and that’s really what I envision Oncology Data Advisor to be as we move forward and get more viewers and more participants. I think it could be really something special, and it already is, but I think it could be something really extraordinary as time goes on.

Oncology Data Advisor: Absolutely. Going along with what you mentioned, the theme of ASCO this year is “Partnering with Patients.” Are there any specific ways you have in mind where we could partner with patients to achieve this goal?

Dr. Abrams: I think patients are oftentimes uniquely excited to speak about their experiences, both the negative and the positive, and getting their perspectives is vital, especially for young oncologists who are just starting out who may not have a lot of experience doing it on their own. They’ve seen the models of their mentors, and I’m sure they get a lot of sense from that. But by seeing it from the patient’s perspective, they may really say, “Hey, maybe I could do things a little differently. Maybe I could be a little bit different in the way I deliver information, the way I explain things, so that patients feel supported.”

Oftentimes, we’re tasked with a very difficult job of telling patients they have an incurable cancer, and we’re going to fight like heck to make them better, but ultimately, they are going to succumb to their illness, and that’s a difficult message. Knowing how the patient accepts that, how the patient receives that information, and how you can move forward from that, is of vital importance.

Oncology Data Advisor: 100%. Well, this is great. We have a lot of really great ideas for how we can address all of these directions in this coming year, and I’m excited to see how they all play out.

Dr. Abrams: I think it would be remiss of me to not mention your efforts, Keira, and the efforts of the folks who work at Oncology Data Advisor. This is really a group effort, and it’s been my privilege to be a part of it, so thank you.

Oncology Data Advisor: Thank you. Yes, we have a really fantastic team and Editorial Board right now. There are a lot of different perspectives we have, so it’s great to incorporate all of these into our ultimate goal of improving care for patients.

Dr. Abrams: Absolutely.

Oncology Data Advisor: Well, thanks for stopping by today and talking about this.

Dr. Abrams: It’s my pleasure.

About Dr. Abrams


Thomas Abrams, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a Senior Physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Director of the Liver Cancer Task Force of the Harvard Cancer Center. He specializes in the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal cancers, including pancreatic, gastric, colorectal, esophageal, gallbladder, and primary liver cancers. Dr. Abrams’ primary research interest is the early detection of liver cancers through the discovery and application of novel biomarkers. He has authored or coauthored numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals.


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