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Rachel Troychock
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Honored to be working with an organization like #freetobreathe who connects the entire #lungcancer community and allows advocates like myself to really make a significant impact by giving us the tools we need - and then provides us the opportunity to SEE how our efforts are really helping. Thank you for your post, +Brendon Stiles and for all you do. Your work is what is keeping my +Stephanie Dunn Haney here with her family and friends <3 #ftbaction #lcsm  
The intersection of advocacy, patient care, and research
 
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Lung Cancer Action Summit sponsored by a lung cancer advocacy and research funding organization called Free to Breathe.  The emotional stakes were high from the very first night, when each of the attendees took turns describing his or her personal connection to lung cancer.  I suppose that this sort of event selects for the most gut-wrenching stories---the 31 year old spouse, the son or daughter, the best friend, all dead from lung cancer.   However, it also selects for some of the success stories—survivors of small cell lung cancer, survivors of multiple cancers, and patients with metastatic disease who have thrived for years on today’s amazing targeted therapies.  Needless to say, it was an incredibly powerful first night that set the tone for the entire weekend.
 
One of the featured events of the Action Summit is the Lab Tour, where patients, advocates, and Free to Breathe staff all go to visit a basic science research laboratory.  I was thrilled that of all of the fantastic New York City institutions, Free to Breathe had chosen our own Neuberger Berman Lung Cancer Research Center, part of the Meyer Cancer Center at the Weill Cornell Medical College. This was a particularly important event to us, as Free to Breathe had recently awarded us a large research grant to study a protein, ART1, that we think is important in the metastatic spread of lung cancer.  We obviously wanted to highlight our work and demonstrate to them that this was money well spent.  We therefore organized a comprehensive day that included an overview of the ART1 project, as well as whirlwind tours of several lab stations that included talks on biomarkers, precision medicine, tumor metabolism, tumor microenvironment, biobanking, and clinical trials.  One can only imagine how daunting such a schedule would be for a trained scientist or clinician, much less for people who were mostly novices with respect to the science.  Remarkably, the groups on the tour were totally locked in.  They were some of the most dynamic and appreciative groups that I have ever spoken to.  They engaged, they asked questions, they challenged us, and most importantly, they shared their stories.  Once that began to happen, I understood the true purpose of the tour.  It wasn’t for them---it was for us. 
 
All too often in my opinion, scientists work only in a protective environment of dark labs, microscopes, and petri dishes, typically studying cell lines that were developed decades ago.  On occasion they deal with live replicas, typically utilizing genetically engineered mouse models of lung cancer in an attempt to answer important questions.  But is this really the disease we are attempting to cure?  Almost every young scientist I know has had the thrill of “curing” lung cancer in a mouse.  Unfortunately, too few have known the excitement of a cured human patient.  To me, that was why the Lung Cancer Action Summit and the Lab Tour were a powerful event for us here at Weill Cornell and for our young scientists.  Our students, post-doctorates, and even seasoned scientists got to hear the patient stories first hand.  They heard how drugs targeting EGFR mutations or ALK rearrangements have kept patients alive.  They heard how early diagnosis makes a difference.  They heard about the incredible amount of hope that has been generated by clinical trials of immune checkpoint inhibitors.  On the other hand, they must have also felt the sadness of lung cancer— of the terrible side effects of some treatments, of a relapse after targeted therapy, or of losing a loved one to this disease for which the overall survival at five years is still just 17.8%.  Remarkably, lung cancer accounts for 27% of all cancer deaths, more deaths than prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer combined.  The people in our Neuberger Berman Lung Cancer Research Center already knew these numbers.  They have heard them over and over.  But I truly believe that the Action Summit enabled them to feel these numbers.  I hope and expect that will make them better scientists, but also better advocates.  It is incredibly easy to get caught up in the elegance of science and the pursuit of the perfect experiment.  But we as scientists and clinicians should always keep the end game in mind.  Are we helping the patients?  Are we impacting the disease? 
 
I believe that all scientists and clinicians should be advocates for the diseases that we are attempting to treat and cure.  We should humanize the problem, raise awareness, and raise funding for the disease.  Yes, in a way this is self-serving.  But it is also incredibly self-fulfilling.  I am reminded of a quote by Sir Isaac Newton, who made the observation that, “If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent.”  Although the esteemed physicist and mathematician obviously meant patient as in “able to accept or tolerate delays”, in a sense the patient in the quote could just as easily mean “a person receiving medical treatment”.  In that context, “patient attention” becomes critical to make meaningful advances in translational science.  We should all be at the intersection of advocacy, patient care, and research, listening to and learning from each other. 
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2015-09-24
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Now’s the time to build up your community! With KBIS 2015 registration just around the corner, we’re helping you get in social media shape. Join us Friday August 8 at 1pmET for our Social Media 101 hangout! Learn how to best use social media platforms, gain insight into #KBIS2015 show initiatives that you can be a part of, discover the tricks to live tweeting and more! Co-hosted by Brian Pagel, we’ll be chatting with social media specialist Kimberley Williamson. A must attend for all exhibitors and attendees who want to get the most out of their social media efforts!  

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Upcoming courses +TheNKBA #NKBAU 

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Top prize is a trip to Spain and finalists get a free trip to Las Vegas and KBIS 2015! #NKBAUpro
K+B professionals your time is now! Have you entered our Professional of the Year competition? We're looking to find an outstanding pro who exemplifies the best in our industry. Nominate yourself (or send to a friend) by clicking the link below. nkba.org/NKBAUpro
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Would meeting other young professionals broaden your ideas and possibilities? If so, then you want to be a part of our NKBA 30 Under 30 program for KBIS 2015! Nominations close on Wednesday at 12pm ET. Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor WIlsonart. http://www.nkba.org/30u30.aspx
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One of my favorite from our #NKBAU course offerings!
Feeling the impact of the economic downturn? Make your business a success. Kim Morrison teaches Kitchen and Bath Business Management beginning on August 19th. Sign up for the course here http://bit.ly/Wneywu 
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Rachel Troychock debunks the online learning stigma and shares what sets NKBA University apart from the rest on NKBAConnect. http://bit.ly/1z3lxZj
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"Being a polished and effective designer is very important to me. After NKBA U’s AKBD prep course, I now feel empowered with my knowledge and more confident working with architects, builders and other designers alike." - Thabisile Dube on NKBA U
 
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