Scientists from across the world gathered in North Carolina, Chapel Hill for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Conference, from May 15 to 17, 2019. As the only scientific conference that addresses the impact of diet, obesity, physical activity on cancer risk and outcomes, this conference presented the latest relevant research, discussed how this research is implemented in cancer prevention and patient care and faced the most pressing challenges and priorities in the field.
#AICR19 provided a unique forum for transdisciplinary interactions; speakers and attendees debated the evidence regarding the role of lifestyle factors in cancer and discussed how we can support integrating the strongest evidence into action in clinical practice. In essence, knowing what we know, how can we get Americans to move more and eat better?
“Research is a dynamic process. It is always moving forward. We want to drive the conversation forward, both through our conference content and through the research that we fund. We want to push evidence into action, and integrate lifestyle into clinical practice so that it becomes part of standard cancer care and preventative medicine,” said Dr. Nigel Brockton, Vice President of Research at AICR, who also served on the scientific program committee of the conference.
Several AICR grantees presented their research at the conference. Connie Rogers, Professor at Penn State University and a current AICR grantee, presented a paper titled, “Diet-Physical Activity Interactions, Immunomodulation and Cancer.” For Dr. Rogers, the take home messages from this conference focus on the “importance of physical activity independent of body weight mamangement.”
Christina Dieli-Conwright, Professor at the University of Southern California and another current AICR grantee, presented her work on “Exercise as Medicine for Metabolic Dysregulation and Sarcopenic Obesity in Survivors of Breast Cancer.” Dieli-Conwright said that she “couldn’t wait till the next conference.”
Over the three days of the conference, several themes emerged. The theme of convergence between lifestyle factors and oncology was evident throughout the conference and not restricted to the final plenary session that focused specifically on this very recent phenomenon. Another key theme was the inter-relatedness of diet, physical activity and body composition and the necessity to consider the impact of all three factors across the cancer continuum. Only by engaging the perspectives from all of these fields and harnessing the evidence from basic research through to clinical care, can we make the most significant contributions to reducing risk and improving outcomes