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Learning the true meaning of “the bench, the bedside, and the community”


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Learning the true meaning of “the bench, the bedside, and the community”

Posted on May 20, 2015 - 10:16am

Upal Basu Roy

My first HOPE Summit: Learning the true meaning of “the bench, the bedside, and the community”

I am a new recruit to LUNGevity, and the May HOPE Summit, a two-day celebration of lung cancer survivorship, advocacy, and research, in Arlington, VA, was my initiation into both LUNGevity and the lung cancer community. I was very excited to meet the different stakeholders in the race against lung cancer, as well as to gain a strong understanding of the complementary roles of the “bench, the bedside, and the community.”   

Let me explain. Two weeks ago, I was a research scientist, studying cancer at a leading medical center in New York. My focus was solely on the “bench.” But the cutting-edge scientific research on the malfunctioning genes and proteins that cause cancer is just a part of the picture. What is missing are the other two pillars of cancer care—the “bedside,” where laboratory findings are translated to clinical practice, and the “community,” where cancer patients have access to the latest advances in treatment. As the new Director of Science Communications and Programs at LUNGevity, I want to help connect the three pillars, something that I couldn’t do working in a laboratory. I could not have been in a better place than the HOPE Summit to see this connection in action.

I thought of the bench when Dr. J.T. Poirier of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center explained how human genome sequencing technology is helping match targeted therapy to the right lung cancer patient. I was reminded of the importance of the bedside when Dr. Raja Flores from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine discussed how video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) has revolutionized lung cancer treatment. But what resonated with me the most was the community, the amazing group of survivors who provided a voice for all lung cancer patients, reminding us why we do what we do. When a ten-year survivor talked about how she was one of the first patients to be treated with crizotinib (Xalkori®), I learned the true meaning of connecting the three pillars—how a drug developed at the bench and brought to the bedside can help the patient community. It was a humbling experience to be seated with lung cancer survivors who shared their stories of Heroism, Optimism, Passion, and Empowerment.

The HOPE Summit gave me  the complete picture of cancer care, and was nothing less than inspirational.




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