San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium begins Tuesday

SAN ANTONIO (December 2, 2011) – About 8,000 researchers, clinicians and advocates from around the world will gather next week at the 34th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium that runs Dec. 6-10. One of the largest breast cancer conferences in the world, the symposium will feature presenters and session moderators who include several faculty members from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Researchers at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium will present the latest findings in drug research as well as grapple with questions about how to do the best research, treatment and prevention possible. CTRC is the abbreviated name of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center. AACR stands for the American Association for Cancer Research.

Amelie Ramirez, Dr. P.H., director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research in the School of Medicine at the Health Science Center and associate director of health disparities at the CTRC, will moderate an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on breast cancer and the environment at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7. A press briefing on the IOM report is scheduled for before the presentation at 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Ramirez, a member of the IOM and of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Scientific Advisory Board, will also give a poster presentation on Latinas with breast cancer and how depression and other barriers can prevent them from seeking the follow-up screenings and care that they need. The presentation is from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Thursday in Exhibit Hall A-B, and Dr. Ramirez can be scheduled for interviews on the topic.

The CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium will also hold four other press briefings to highlight important findings that will be announced at the symposium.

One of these, at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, will review several abstracts that tackle the question of whether anti-osteoporosis drugs called bisphosphonates can prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. A large study released last year proved disappointing in the general population, but questions remain about whether the drug can help subsets such as post-menopausal women, said Peter Ravdin, M.D., Ph.D., director of the CTRC’s breast cancer program. Dr. Ravdin is co-director of the symposium with C. Kent Osborne, M.D., director of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine and Carlos L. Arteaga, MD, director of the breast cancer program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

Another announcement anticipated at the symposium will be the results of the BOLERO-2 and CLEOPATRA studies. The BOLERO-2 study results “are some of the more important and encouraging results at the Symposium this year,” Dr. Ravdin said. The CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium will hold a press briefing on these papers on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, at 7:30 a.m. in room 217D of the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center.

To register as press for the conference, journalists are asked to present media identification or a business card issued by a recognized news organization or publication, as well as two bylined medical articles or a copy of editorial masthead. Freelance journalists are asked to present a letter of assignment on letterhead from a recognized news organization or publication, and a business card. To preregister and for more information:

Press conference schedule

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011
Opening Press Briefing: Challenges in Patient Management 7:30 a.m.
Institute of Medicine Report: Breast Cancer and the Environment 12:30 p.m.
Bisphosphonates: Updates and Recommendations: 5 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011
Emerging Therapies: Phase III Clinical Trials: 7:30 a.m.
Results of BOLERO-2 and CLEOPATRA studies: 8:30 a.m.
Genetics and Socioeconomics: 12:30 p.m.

Other presentations of interest include:


4-5:30 p.m.

Controversies in Early Breast Cancer – Exhibit Hall D

Moderator: Peter M. Ravdin, MD, PhD
UT Health Science Center San Antonio

6-7:30 p.m.:
Reconstruction – Ballroom B
Moderator: Richard L. Crownover, MD, PhD
Cancer Therapy and Research Center


1:45 p.m.:

Special Report – Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach – Report Release from an IOM Committee – Exhibit Hall D

Moderator: Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr. PH, MPH
UT Health Science Center San Antonio San Antonio, TX
Dr. Ramirez is available for interviews after the presentation


3:15 p.m. Overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening: Methodological considerations of current estimates Smith RA, Duffy SW. American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Ga; Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom. Exhibit Hall D

5 -7 p.m. Poster session 3: Taccalonolides, extracts of the bat plant, have potent potential as cancer treatment to rival Taxol Exhibit Halls A-B

April Risinger, Ph.D., will be available to discuss this study, recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. A substance derived from the bat plant (Tacca chantrieri) targets cancer cells and may shape up to be an alternative to the drug Taxol. Taxol has had success in treating cancer, but patients develop toxicity and resistance to it over time, creating the need for an alternative that is just as potent but attacks the cell in a new way. The taccalonolides, as they are called, demonstrate this promising level of effectiveness.
The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit

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