Professor Daniel Hochhauser delivers Chai’s 2021 Natalie Shipman Memorial Lecture Online

‘Individualised Cancer Treatment – Hype or Reality?’ was the fascinating topic of Chai’s 31st annual Natalie Shipman Memorial Lecture.

More than 500 households tuned in to hear Keynote Speaker, Professor Daniel Hochhauser, Kathleen Ferrier Professor of Medical Oncology, UCL Cancer Institute and Consultant Medical Oncologist, UCLH Trust.

Natalie z’l, daughter of Susan Shipman, Chai’s founder president, was one of the catalysts that inspired Chai’s inception thirty-one years ago. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was two years old and sadly passed away from a brain tumour just before her eighth birthday.

Chai Chairman, Louise Hager welcomed guests and informed the audience of how Chai had been able to extend its reach both nationally and internationally since Covid began. She said: “We had to very quickly pivot to be able to provide our expertise and care as soon as lockdown started. Whilst we physically had to close our doors, we opened thousands of virtual doors. Over the last 20 months we have provided 18,872 individual counselling and children’s services – that’s an increase of 31%.”

Dr Adrian Tookman – Chairman of Chai’s Medical Advisory Panel then introduced Professor Hochhauser whose presentation covered important areas such as personalised medicine and therapy including their advantages and disadvantages, key advances in cancer therapy and the future of personalised cancer care.

Speaking about whether one should go to the “top person” or “top man”, Professor Hochhauser reassured everyone that there is a uniform standard of care available. He said: “The way the system works at its best in the NHS and privately is that cancer specialists work in multidisciplinary teams. It’s important to know that more treatment doesn’t equal better treatment. The reasons for treatment are given on the basis of trials and uniform standards of practice.”

Summarising whether Individualised cancer treatment is hype or reality, Professor Hochhauser said: “Its reality. Every type of cancer has some personalised treatment that can be given; however, one must still have a dose of scepticism about the hype that is going on. There are still challenges in some cancers in terms of how much benefit personalised therapies give. We have moved a long way forwards and this is a real revolution but a certain degree of awareness of the potential overstatement of benefits is still very important.”

The lecture, followed by a Q&A, was a great success with much positive feedback. As one participant put it, “Brilliant lecture – incredibly informative and well presented! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to learn and understand the process of the latest cancer treatments that are now and will in the future become available.”

To view the lecture visit https://youtu.be/fw8BI567mEM