Soroka Cancer Conference

In 2016, IHF assembled 30 leading cancer researchers for a daylong symposium to discuss their research. The symposium included researchers from the U.S., Europe and Israel, including Dr. Kenneth Offit, head of clinical genetics at MSKCC, Dr. Judy Garber, past-president of the American Association for Cancer Research, and two from Soroka Medical Center: Dr. Ehud Davidson, its director-general and Dr. David Geffen, chief of breast oncology services. The symposium was sponsored by the New Jersey-based Cure Breast Cancer Foundation in cooperation with Soroka Medical Center and the Israel Healthcare Foundation.

The group shared in a press briefing following the event that nearly a dozen of their studies suggested that family history is not an adequate predictor of cancer risk. Though the team of doctors stopped short of making a formal recommendation, they strongly concluded that people be tested regardless of family history. The participants felt motivated, vowing to conduct more research – specifically looking at founder mutations in other populations and exploring the best way to implement genetic testing on a widespread level. A new round of testing was planned at MSKCC as well as labs in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and California.

Norton’s group hoped that with enough research, healthcare decision-makers will be convinced to expand testing for more categories of people. “There’s a lot more that needs to be done,” Norton said, “but as scientists, we’re identifying something that should be done. We want to do what’s appropriate to gather the information so that people who have to make policy decisions can make good ones.”