We are elated to report that the Inaugural Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Anal Neoplasia Society (IANS) was a true success!
Only two years ago the Anal Cancer Foundation embarked on a path to provide experts in the field of anal precancer and cancer with a platform to come together to discuss prevention, screening and treatment -- by providing the seed funding for IANS, the first medical society of its kind. We understood that a society like this is essential to ending anal cancer.
We stand here today proud knowing that so many members of the community have joined IANS and participated in the conference. In fact, there were over 160 scientists, epidemiologists, clinicians and advocates that represented more than 15 countries in attendance at this groundbreaking event held November 22-24, 2013. This was the first time experts in the field of anal precancer and cancer were able to come together and share their latest findings. Many of them were excited to meet their peers for the first time.
To start-off the event, Dr. Joel Palefsky, Foundation board member and IANS president, took to the stage during the opening ceremony. Dr. Palefsky welcomed the crowd and was overwhelmed by the number of experts who traveled far and wide for this event. Foundation Co-Founder and Executive Director, Justine Almada, spoke to attendees about the importance of the society and conference in fostering an environment of collaboration amongst researchers of anal precancer and cancer. Dr. John Schiller from the National Cancer Institute gave the opening lecture regarding the current state of preventative and therapeutic vaccines and set the tone of excellence for the weekend.
Over the course of the two-day event we were privileged to hear the latest research and findings in HPV, anal precancer, and anal cancer. Topics included prevention, screening and treatment. We heard from scientists about the varying role and impact HPV has on those who are HIV+ versus those who are not. Presentations also covered treatment options of early stage anal precancer. We also heard about the importance of looking at the molecular level of HPV in anal cancer. During the conference two scientific debates were held. The first debate was about screening for anal precancer and cancer and when it is appropriate to do so. The second debate was about whether or not to vaccinate all HIV-infected men and women regardless of age.
On Sunday, November 24, 2013, a panel of community members brought a different voice to the conference and provided perspectives not generally represented at scientific conferences. We first heard from Laura Mamo, Associate Professor of Health Education at San Francisco State University, about the advertising campaigns surrounding the HPV vaccine when it was first introduced and the response many had to the vaccine. Justine Almada, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation, presented research conducted on the quality of life effects after treatment for anal cancer. Also on the panel was activist Jeff Taylor, who spoke to activism in the anal cancer and precancer community. Three patients spoke to their experiences with anal cancer.
At the closing ceremony, Dr. Palefsky was presented with the first ever IANS Visionary Award to honor the tremendous amount of work he has done in the field of anal precancer and cancer and his commitment to bringing IANS and the conference to fruition. We couldn’t be happier with the collaboration, camaraderie and advancement of research that sprung from of the weekend. There is no doubt that IANS will help to change the landscape of HPV and anal cancer.
To view a full listing of the weekend’s agenda and presentations, please view the IANS 2013 Program. As we have in the past, we will post detailed notes about each of the topics covered during the session, so don’t forget to check back soon!