The 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) organized by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) was held in Yokohama, Japan from 14–18 October, 2017. As the world’s largest multidisciplinary oncology conference on lung cancer, it gathered more than 7,000 key opinion leaders, professionals and researchers from over 100 countries, who came together to unfold a series of in-depth academic exchanges and collaborations. In the meantime, AME seized the opportunity to conduct interviews with a number of experts.
Dr. David Ross Camidge (Figure 1) is the Director of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Colorado. His focus is in Thoracic Malignancies and Developmental Therapeutics (phase I studies). In 2012, he was announced as the recipient of the 5th Bonnie J. Addario Lectureship as a ‘Luminary in the quest to eradicate lung cancer.’ In 2013, he became the first physician to receive the Hank Baskett Sr. Spirit Award, for which he was credited as being ‘one of the leading minds in lung cancer today.’ In 2015, he became the inaugural holder of the Joyce Zeff Chair in Lung Cancer Research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and in 2016, the Lung Cancer Foundation presented him with the Breath Away from the Cure Award describing him as ‘Simply one of the best in treating lung cancer today.’
Dr Camidge is also the National Medical Director of the Academic Thoracic Oncology Medical Investigators Consortium (ATOMIC) and a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Lung Cancer Committee.
In addition to training Fellows through the CU ACGME Medical Oncology Fellowship, Dr Camidge is also the Director of the CU Senior Thoracic Oncology Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship—a unique ‘finishing school’ in advanced cancer clinical research for US and International Graduates who have already completed their basic Medical Oncology training. Through these two programs, Dr Camidge has mentored a consistent series of outstanding early career medical oncologists. In 2014, he was nationally recognized by The Quality of Life Center at Claremont University in California as an ‘Exemplary mentor in the positive development of junior colleagues in the profession.’
“Look for the question, make it feasible to answer, make the answer important,” said Dr. David Ross Camidge when asked to advise younger doctors on how to be the ones to make new discoveries in cancer medicine during an exclusive interview with AME at WCLC 2017 in Japan, “then you can change the world.”
Currently serving as the Director of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Colorado, Dr. Camidge has led multiple international clinical trials and so far has published more than 150 articles in a number of famous medical journals such as Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Thoracic Oncology, The New England Journal of Medicine, etc.
Regarding the reason Dr. Camidge chose to become a thoracic oncologist, it brought him back to the time when he was a trainee in Edinburgh, Scotland. Impressed by the patients there, who were humble and sometimes guilty about their addiction in smoking in the past, Dr. Camidge was motivated to step forward and become dedicated to helping them out. Besides, with dual-training in both medical oncology and clinical pharmacology, together with a PhD in molecular biology, he was well-endowed with the right skill sets to be able to make a difference in caring for this disease.
As a thoracic physician, Dr. Camidge shared his perspectives on a range of different drug targets, including PD-1/PD-L1, their importance in non-small cell lung cancer immunotherapy and the current biomarkers used to predict patient’s response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy. The importance of physicians being aware of adverse events related to new therapies was also emphasized.
In the words of Dr. Camidge, it is never too late to become either a pioneer or a research adventurer. Sometimes the first observation or idea may be only a little something at the beginning, but for the skilled clinician-researcher there’s the very chance to “see something first” and change the world one day if you believe in what you saw and explore it further. Many of us can come up with questions, just as children do at early ages all the time, but we have to sort through all those questions to find the ones that are a good use of your research time. Consequently, before you commit to trying to answer that question, think it over and ensure whether it is feasible to answer and, when you get the answer, that it will be important.
For the original content, please view the interview video (Figure 2).
Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
- Li B, Feng M. Dr. David Ross Camidge: always be the first to see something. Asvide 2018;5:076. Available online: http://asvidett.amegroups.com/article/view/22846
(Science Editors: Brad Li, Maxine Feng, TLCR, firstname.lastname@example.org)