The ASCO Annual Meeting is one of the largest medical congresses in the world, with around 40,000 oncology experts expected to attend. Elena Bernedo Arzac, Head of Global Product Strategy Oncology, Roche Pharmaceuticals, shares her thoughts about Roche at ASCO this year.  

Portrait of Elena Bernedo Arzac
Elena Bernedo Arzac is excited at the prospect of continuing to learn and exchange views

"The best part of my job is knowing that the work we do here at Roche has, and continues to have, a direct impact on improving the lives of millions of patients worldwide. In just a few days, scientists and researchers from around the world will be descending on Chicago in the U.S. to present and share the latest insights from across the scientific community at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), all of whom share the same goal: improving the lives of patients with cancer. I always arrive at ASCO excited at the prospect of continuing to learn and exchange views from the myriad of interested physicians, nurses and healthcare professionals, as well as, colleagues from Roche who represent countries from around the globe.

We have been playing our part at ASCO for more than 50 years and in Chicago we will once again be highlighting data from the broadest, most comprehensive portfolio and pipeline of treatments in this field of research. So it’s no surprise to me that there will be more than 150 abstracts containing a Roche medicine across 27 different cancer types at this year’s congress alone. Our portfolio of cancer medicines has truly transformed the lives of patients around the world and we believe our data at this year’s congress will build on that legacy.

We are also investing in our pipeline and are developing cancer platforms that allow us to tackle multiple tumour types regardless of the location of the disease, such as:

  • Bispecifics – A molecule that can be armed to target multiple tumour types, across liquid and solid tumours. Learn more
  • iNesT (individualised neoantigen specific therapy – This method involves engineering an individual’s own immune cells to recognise and attack that individuals specific cancer when in combination with other medicines. Learn more
  • Anti-TIGIT – A novel immunotherapy target which, in combination with other treatments, also has the potential to target multiple tumour types. Learn more

On the cusp

Right now in research and development we are on the cusp of a transformation in how we detect and treat cancer. I feel it when I walk through the office and speak with our scientists, when I speak to patients who tell me how our medicines have impacted their lives, and I feel it when I arrive at Chicago’s O’Hare airport for ASCO.

We are making use of our unique position as the leaders in the field of personalised healthcare, which encompasses genomic profiling, real world data collection and advanced analytics, all of which we believe will enable us to accelerate research and development of more personalised medicines for patients.

The challenge to fight cancer is a big one, and we know we cannot do this alone. That’s why it’s crucial that we work with academic centres of excellence around the world, and make the most of all the tools at our disposal starting with integrating the technologies of Foundation Medicine and Flatiron into to our own world leading research, and this has already put Roche at the forefront of making personalised healthcare a reality for all.

The ASCO theme this year is "caring for every patient, learning from every patient". With our approach to personalised healthcare, we are learning from every patient so we can care better for every patient.

This is why I am so proud to be leading the global product strategy oncology organisation here at Roche, an organisation that has been at the vanguard of ground-breaking science for decades and is poised to continue pioneering the future of cancer care. 


Elena Bernedo Arzac"

We recommend reading the following articles:

Tags: Science, Oncology