Advancing Science through the Think Tank

August 14, 2014
by Monica Smith

BCAN hosted the 9th Annual Bladder Cancer Think Tank last week in San Diego.  More than 160 doctors, researchers, industry representatives, and patient advocates attended the meeting with one common goal – to improve the quality of care and treatments for those living with bladder cancer.


It was my first time attending the meeting.  I was inspired by the scientific discussions.  I often hear from bladder cancer patients and their loved ones that bladder cancer is ignored and overlooked.  They often feel alone.  After attending the Think Tank, I can tell you that you are not alone.  There is an entire community working collaboratively to initiate new trials, establish best treatment practices, and listen to the concerns of those living with the disease.  Professionals from across major medical institutions including Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson Cancer Center, UNC Chapel Hill, Memorial Sloane Kettering, University of Chicago, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and USC are dedicated to advancing research.


We are grateful to our generous supporters who make the Think Tank possible.  Abbott Molecular Inc., Erwin and Stephanie Greenberg, Genentech, KARL STORZ Endoscopy-America, Mirati Therapeutics, OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Pacific Edge Diagnostics LTD, Photocure and Viventia Bio, Inc.


In the coming weeks, we will highlight the scientific discussion from the Think Tank, but I think Ginny McLaurin, a patient advocate who lost her husband, Joe, to bladder cancer last year, sums up the meeting best:


 “As I have sat in this audience for the past two days surrounded by this amazing, super-intelligent multi-disciplinary group of individuals I am in awe.  Not only are they dedicated to bladder cancer research, education, and advocacy, they are passionate about it! I am honored to be here but also very humbled.

One of the many messages I can take home to my BCAN chapter, our support group and the community at large is:

Across the United States, professionals have truly embraced and are committed to finding causes, improving treatment and procedures, developing patient-friendly educational tools in order to assist bladder cancer patients and their families have a fighting chance and learn to adapt to their new norms.

I thank you for all you are doing, and all you continue to do.  I thank you for this opportunity –for allowing me to tell Joe’s story, my story and my family’s story.”


Thank you to Ginny, as well as all of the patient advocates, doctors, researchers, and our BCAN donors who make the Think Tank possible.  It is through events like these that we will help end bladder cancer.


For more information about the Think Tank and a summary of past meetings, go to

For updates and photos, go to our Facebook page at

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