CAPhO19 Summary Report

As a recipient of the CAPhO Conference Travel Grant this year, I was given the unforgettable opportunity to attend my first CAPhO conference last month in the beautiful harbour city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. During four amazing days, I was allowed to broaden my knowledge in oncology, gain valuable insights on my future research directions, explore various projects initiatives and connect with other inspiring pharmacy practitioners across the country. This year’s theme, “Personalized Medicine” is the cornerstone of our current day patient-centered pharmacy practice. I would like to take this opportunity to share what I have learned during the conference and how this will help to shape my future practice. 
This year, two satellite symposiums have focused on personalized treatment and management of CDK4/6 inhibitors toxicities, and both of them are extremely informative. In recent years, the introduction of CDK4/6 inhibitors in our publicly funded health system has led to a significant paradigm shift in the treatment of estrogen-receptor positive metastatic breast cancer. As a result, appropriate follow-up and timely management of these molecules have become a challenge for many of us, since these medications require strict monitoring due to their particular toxicity profiles, but are often self-administered at home. Attending those two symposiums was extremely helpful for me, since I was able to get a very thorough review of the three CDK4/6 inhibitors available on the market highlighting their respective toxicity profile. These valuable knowledge, along with Micheal Leblanc’s talk on oral anti-cancer clinic, were both aspiring and inspiring for my practice. At my institution, oncology pharmacists including myself have been struggling to build a pharmacy-led oral anti-cancer clinic for about a year now and we have fairly limited resources. The practice model set by Micheal Leblanc at his institution with only ½ day per week of pharmacist presence was extremely encouraging. It provides pragmatic guidance to our team and I am convinced we will be successful this time. 
Another highlight of this year’s conference is the concurrent session on the therapeutic application of pharmacogenomics in oncology given by Shirin Abadi from BC Cancer Agency. It was mind-blowing to see how cancer treatments could be individually tailored at the genomic level. The POG (Personalized Onco-Genomics) initiative at BCCA not only revolutionizes my view on pharmacogenomics, but it also represents a unique breakthrough on cancer treatments and in the field of oncology. 
I have also enjoyed very much the concurrent session on CAR-T cell therapy. Although we have been talking about this novel type of therapy in oncology for a few years now, hearing it from a Canadian perspective, which takes into account our unique publicly funded healthcare reality has suddenly made CAR-T cell therapy much more real and more approachable for me. Other sessions that stood out for me during the conference includes the Newfoundland & Saskatchewan experience on dose banding, as well as the two symposiums on cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT) and DOACs. Finally, the plenary session on fertility preservation was extremely thought-provoking. It made me realize how often this important topic failed to be included in our discussion with young patients of reproductive age. 
I was able to present my research poster “Bendamustine-based (BeEAM) conditioning for autologous stem cell transplant in Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas: a single center experience” at the poster viewing session. In addition to share my findings with colleagues and experts of the oncology pharmacy community, I also had the chance to exchange with other pharmacy practitioners on their posters and research initiatives. These conversations allowed me to gain valuable insights on my future research directions and highly motived me to continue exploring new ideas for other projects. 
Overall, I greatly enjoyed my first experience at CAPhO conference this year and I have highly recommended it to my pharmacists colleagues at my institution. Many thanks to the award committee for selecting me and allowing me to attend the conference. I am looking forward to seeing you all next year in Toronto!  

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