Guest Columnist


Bob Boorstin,
Senior Vice President, Albright Stonebridge Group

Alexandria Summit: Neuroscience 2015 – Opening Remarks

Good morning. Let me begin by thanking Joel and Lynne for inviting me here, and for the organizers who have put this together. I also want to thank this entire room of geniuses – and that’s a word that I don’t use lightly – that Alexandria has gathered together for this conference.
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David Sheff,
Author, Clean & Beautiful Boy

David Sheff, Author, on Addiction & Mental Health

It’s an honor to be here at this incredibly important gathering; I’m extremely grateful to the Alexandria Summit for taking on what I consider to be the United States’ greatest tragedy. The disease of addiction costs our society $600 billion a year. Addiction is related to most crime, lost productivity, debilitation, and incalculable suffering, and yet it’s often ignored. The ignorance about this disease is appalling – as is the stigma attached to it.
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Menelas N. Pangalos, PHD,
Executive Vice President, Research and Early Development, Innovative Medicines, AstraZeneca PLC

Cracking the Challenges in Neuroscience Research and Development

Diseases of the central nervous system have one of the heaviest socioeconomic burdens on society and with an ever aging population this burden has the potential to become catastrophic. Alzheimer’s disease alone affects an estimated 25 million people worldwide and neuropsychiatric illnesses such as depression, addiction, schizophrenia and anxiety are amongst the most impactful with regard to social burden. On behalf of patients and the millions of people who have had to watch their loved ones suffer from these diseases, we must do better. We must deliver better tools to help us diagnose the disease, followed by better medicines to help us treat the underlying cause, rather than just the symptoms.
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Donald A. Berry,
Professor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Alexandria Summit: Oncology 2011 Leads to Neuroscience 2012

Clinical research differs in neurologic diseases as compared with cancer. Perhaps most notably, tumors can be seen and felt. They can be sliced, poisoned, and burned. And they announce themselves when and if they return. Neurologic diseases can be as devastating as cancer, but they don't have the same obvious physical presence. We don't say, "She had a large Parkinson's disease." Affecting the disease means affecting symptoms, and it's difficult to tell whether a drug effect is on the disease or only on the symptoms. Still, the commonalities between oncologic and neurologic research are greater than the differences. For example, heterogeneity within the diseases is almost as great as it is across them. In the extreme, different patients with the same diagnosis may have unique diseases that respond only to therapies individually tailored to them. Given the rapid progress in cancer biology and discoveries about cancer pathways, in a few years every cancer patient will have an orphan disease. The same may be true in neurology, but the time frame will be longer.
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Marc Hurlbert, PHD,
Executive Director, Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade

Delivering Medical Discoveries to Benefit All Who Face Breast Cancer – Regardless of their Income Level or Insurance Status

The field of breast cancer has witnessed remarkable progress due to dedicated scientists, physicians and advocates. Sixty years ago, a woman diagnosed with early stage breast cancer had a 55% chance of living 10 years, >while today those odds are >85 percent. We've made great advances in finding cancer early with imaging including digital mammography, ultrasound and, when appropriate, MRI. Less invasive surgery is the standard of care in most cases, with lumpectomy and radiation instead of mastectomy. Research has determined breast cancer is not a single disease, but rather 5 or so distinct types, each with different approaches to target and optimize treatment. For women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, we still have much work to do, but even their 10-year survival odds have increased substantially.
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N. Anthony Coles, M.D.,
President and Chief Executive Officer, Onyx Pharmaceuticals

Getting Academic-Biopharmaceutical Partnerships Right: The Next Leap in Innovation

The popular image of an "innovator" conjures up thoughts of brilliant, solitary thinkers engaging in creative breakthroughs – sometimes through careful application of the scientific process and, sometimes, through serendipity: Edison and the light bulb, Fleming and penicillin, Salk and the polio vaccine. But actual innovation, today, looks vastly different and sometimes requires focused collaboration, particularly in biological sciences – think myeloma where survival rates have more than doubled in the last 10 years with improvements in diagnosis and treatment. Taking a novel scientific idea and transforming it into a medication that can change thousands or millions of lives requires not just one innovator, but hundreds – or more – all united by a common purpose in partnership.
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