ToPCaP holds its 8th Annual Retreat (September 9-11, 2015)
September 22, 2015

ToPCaP holds its 8th Annual Retreat (September 9-11, 2015)

WICKLOW COUNTY, IRELAND Voices joined together in harmony at this year’s productive scientific retreat in Wicklow, Ireland for the Transdisciplinary Prostate Cancer Partnership (ToPCaP), to discuss the current state of research and to develop plans for its future. The bustling, two-day event connected 47 researchers from six countries for a face-to-face retreat, helping the team to learn from past successes, create big ideas for new international, interdisciplinary projects, find solutions to anticipated future obstacles, and capitalize on ToPCaP’s rich resources.

Reminders of ToPCaP accomplishments kicked things off on Thursday morning. Topics included updates from the new ToPCaP Junior Investigator Committee, the Horizon 2020 campaign, international projects including iProspect study of metastatic prostate cancer, the PCF Challenge award on stromal-epithelial interactions, research endeavors in the UK, and the immune cell marker project.

A major focus of ToPCaP is support of the next generation of prostate cancer researchers, and the retreat featured ToPCaP’s first-ever Junior Investigator Award Presentations. 13 PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, junior research fellows, clinical fellows, research associates, and non-consultant hospital doctors presented scientific results or new ideas in 10-minute talks. For their work on physical activity among prostate cancer patients, Drs. Lauren Brady and Grainne Sheil shared the Janssen Ireland award, which was open to Irish investigators. For his research on cholesterol metabolism and prostate cancer mortality, Dr. Konrad Stopsack received the award from Roche Diagnostics, which was open to all investigators.

Showcasing the interdisciplinary expertise of ToPCaP, the group next explored bioinformatics, next generation sequencing, and computational pathology-epidemiology in the context of ToPCaP. Everyone then split into breakout sessions to brainstorm new ideas for hypotheses, methods, and grant proposals focused around the areas of immunology and inflammation, aberrant metabolism, molecular subtypes of prostate cancer, and pharmacogenetics.

On Friday, the team discussed their available cohorts and the improved website, which now includes a relational database platform that investigators can use to preview available data for potential projects. The team then generated its plan for the year ahead, which involves developing an educational course through ToPCaP, further expanding the website and relational database, and beginning work on new groundbreaking projects. Altogether, this effective conference helped to set the stage for a promising, exciting year to come in prostate cancer research for the ToPCaP team.