ESMO 2020: Where Innovation Meets Human Health Care

By Luca Dezzani, Asya Kogan, Caroline Ojaimi & Sushant Hardikar





September 25, 2020

Luca Dezzani

VP, Oncology Business Group

US Medical Affairs

Asya Kogan

Executive Director, Oncology Field Medical

US Medical Affairs

Caroline Ojaimi

Director, Medical Affairs Operation

Oncology Medical Affairs

Sushant Hardikar

Sr. Medical Director, New Products

US Medical Affairs

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020 took place from September 19-21. The theme of this year’s conference was “Bringing Innovation to Cancer Care”. Our Oncology Medical Affairs team shared their perspectives on the future of cancer care and reflections on innovative approaches to virtual medical conferences during a virtual panel discussion led by Luca Dezzani. Watch the video below to hear insights from the team.


Luca Hi. I’m Luca Dezzani, head of U.S. Oncology Medical Affairs at Eisai. We just wrapped up our presence at the annual meeting at the European Society for Medical Oncology. I am glad to have with me today a few leaders within Eisai Medical Affairs and I’d really like to hear your thoughts about innovation in healthcare, and in, particular, when it comes to medical conferences. So Asya, the theme of ESMO 2020 was bringing innovation to cancer patients. How is Eisai supporting that theme this year?

Asya: Thanks Luca, you know, this year has been incredibly challenging for cancer patients due to the pandemic, and so it’s even more important for us to continue providing support to oncology professionals and patients. We had to adapt and look for innovative solutions to achieve this goal in the new environment. We continue to ensure that oncology professionals have the information they need to make patient care decisions.

Luca: Thank you, Asya. So, Sushant, maybe a question for you: What are your reflections on this virtual conference space in general?

Sushant: Thank you, Luca, Good question. I’ll actually start with what I miss from an on-site conference. When you walk into a conference center, and you feel that energy, see a flurry of activity in the hallways, at the exhibit centers, in the different conference rooms – I really miss that. The most important thing that I miss is really the face-to-face interaction. What I really like about the virtual conference? Because it is virtual, it is available to all audiences. Also, from the industry perspective, attending a virtual conference really sort of minimizes that time away from patient care and from families and friends.

Luca: Yeah. That’s very, very true, Sushant. So, Caroline. One question for you: How has the use of social media in healthcare changed since the pandemic began?

Caroline: This is an interesting question, because I think we all know that the use of social media has been rising globally, especially during this time, allowing digital opinion leaders and KOL’s to reach a broader group of patients and healthcare professionals from the comfort of their homes and allowing them to share information and making this data available to a wider range of audiences.

Luca: So, switching gears now, and looking at the future, Sushant, where would you like to see cancer research and treatment move forward in the future?

Sushant: A great question, Luca. We need to look for more equity in access and participation in clinical trials across a larger diaspora. Secondly, you know, this pandemic has brought the industry together for a single objective which is to find treatment options and cure for this virus. I would like to see that continue in the future in our search for cancer research.

Luca: Thank you, Sushant. Caroline, one final question for you. Do you have any predictions for innovation down the line?

Caroline: Thank you Luca. I think This is a hard question. I know, I think we all believe that this pandemic has accelerated the digital innovation in healthcare. So I believe that there will be innovation in the digital healthcare and telemedicine in oncology. The rise in smart technology in becoming more effective in diagnosing cancers is really needed to be more readily available to allow better treatment options for patients. I see there would be a shift in innovation in these aspects of telemedicine.

Luca: Yeah. Very, very true, Caroline. And thank you. Thank you all very much for the excellent perspectives on ESMO 2020 as well as on innovation on healthcare. Thank you so much.

All: Thank you, Luca.