Roll Out The Red Carpet! ASCO Goes Hollywood


All of my, ahem, complaining and whining, to put it politely, about the American Society of Clinical Oncology may not have fallen on deaf ears after all.

I've repeatedly called out the world's premiere cancer group on this blog, on TV and in face-to-face confrontations that have even prompted ASCO press people to call security on me. At last year's annual meeting, for example, they threw me out on the street for (horrors!) doing a taped, on-camera interview with an actual work-a-day oncologist inside the convention hall.

For the uninitiated, the ASCO meeting is arguably the most important scientific conference of the year for biopharma because so much potentially stock-moving data are presented there on experimental and already-marketed cancer drugs. It's a big deal for patients, researchers, doctors, companies and investors.

So, this morning I was pleasantly surprised to see this ASCO press releaseshow up in my inbox. ASCO is finally changing its tune. For years, the group has not been very friendly to electronic media and especially the financial press. It doesn't much like what it perceives to be a compromising of the conference's scientific integrity by actually acknowledging that the science is related to capital. But that's a separate issue. For now, at least, it looks like we're makin' progress on the electronic media relations front.

The release says, "We're pleased to announce that, for the first time, ASCO will be providing production and technical support to enable networks to broadcast live from inside the convention center." It goes on to say that it has designated a "red carpet" area on the convention floor for us TV-types to do interviews and live shots.

Oooh, an ASCO red carpet. Alert the pipetting paparazzi!

I realize a lot of people don't give a you-know-what about ASCO's TV policy, but this is major for those of us who work in the medium and have been frustrated, to say the least, by ASCO's prehistoric rules.

Perhaps the only people happier than I am, I imagine, are our usual-suspect ASCO live guests including folks like Celgene CEO Sol Barer and Genentech's President of Product Development, Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann , just to name a couple, who won't have to be outside in the June heat and humidity of Orlando schvitzing under the TV lights.

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