The American Association of Cancer Researchers’ Annual Meeting is kicking off soon. To celebrate RockStep Solutions’ return to the expo floor, we sat down with our Senior Application Scientist, Austin Lanham, RLAT, to talk about his time in the vivarium working on oncology studies, what he considers the most exciting recent oncology breakthroughs, and what he’s looking forward to while attending the meeting in Orlando.
Q: What initially drew you to oncology research?
A: I think most people have been affected by cancer in some way, either personally or via a loved one. I think it was an NCI Study that claims 1 in 2 American men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Working to cure a disease that’s equally pervasive and devastating was a driving factor in where I wanted to focus. Oncology is a vast and dynamic field, it’s constantly changing, and I was drawn to that.
Q: What did you enjoy most about conducting oncology research?
A: What I enjoyed most about Oncology research was how you could visibly see incremental improvements as studies progressed. Not all areas of research allow one to actively see the changes that happen during the progression of a disease. It was an exciting time in my career, and at times one of the more frustrating, given how erratically some cancers can behave. I often found myself asking a senior investigator for some kind of assistance or wishing for a tool to better help me with planning the research around newly discovered targets.
Q: Is there a particular topic or session you are looking forward to attending at this year’s meeting?
A: I am looking forward to the poster sessions and using my time on the floor to reconnect with old colleagues. I’ve missed a lot during my time away from Oncology, and I’m looking forward to re-immersing myself and absorbing as much as possible.
I’ve marked down a talk on breakthroughs targeting KRAS mutations. It’s exhilarating to see breakthroughs, as KRAS is an oncoprotein I researched earlier in my career.
Q: What is the most promising therapy under development right now?
A: I think immunotherapy is proving to be an additional pillar for cancer care. The ongoing developments with Car T cell therapies are some of the most promising recent therapies. It has had a good impact on some cancers, and there is still lots of space for development and improvement.
Q: Why should oncology researchers visit you at the RockStep booth during AACR?
A: Researchers should stop by booth #2346 so we can discuss how Climb can easily integrate into their current in vivo lab practices while eliminating chances for manual errors in sample and data collection. It’s a tool I wish I had at my disposal when I was working in the vivarium, and it can improve the quality of research being conducted today!
Climb’s native cloud in vivo research management platform is helping preclinical researchers in numerous fields accelerate their drug discovery pipelines.
Not going to AACR this year? No problem!