The First Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium® was held November 11, 1978 during Breast Cancer Awareness Week, and was part of an intensive 3-year outreach program of public and professional education designed to significantly reduce the death rate caused by breast cancer in San Antonio and surrounding counties. It was sponsored by Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) and the American Cancer Society, Texas Division, in conjunction with The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and the Bexar County Medical Society. That all-day course for physicians and surgeons was organized and co-directed by Charles A. Coltman, Jr., MD and William L. McGuire, MD, both Professors of Medicine at UTHSCSA. It featured invited presentations by a panel of internationally known specialists and was attended by 141 physicians and surgeons from a 5-state area. Three years later, in 1981, the meeting was expanded to two days, a call for abstracts was distributed worldwide, and proffered papers for slide and poster presentations were incorporated into the program, thereby broadening its scope to both attract and draw from a larger, international base. Renowned experts gave formal plenary lectures, and accepted abstracts were published for the first time in the peer-reviewed journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. Case discussion lunches offered opportunity for discussion of complex clinical problems in the management of primary and metastatic disease, by a panel of physicians from different disciplines.
Although some modifications have been made in the format, such as incorporating pre-symposium educational sessions, Year In Review and lunchtime forums the overall format remains very much
the same. This reflects the objective of the Symposium, which is to provide state-of-the-art information on the experimental biology, etiology, prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of breast cancer and premalignant breast disease, to an international audience of academic and private physicians and researchers.
In 1990, CTRC and UTHSCSA formally entered into a collaboration known as the San Antonio Cancer Institute (an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center), which in 1995 assumed direct sponsorship of the Symposium. In 1992, C. Kent Osborne, MD became Co-Director of the symposium upon the death of William L. McGuire, MD. In 1999, Dr. Osborne left UTHSCSA and opened the Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine, and in 2005, Baylor College of Medicine became a joint sponsor of the symposium. In 2008 the American Association for Cancer Research became a joint sponsor of the symposium. Through the efforts of UTHSCSA, AACR, and BCM, the program attracts more thought-leaders and high-quality proffered papers in basic and translational breast cancer research as well as increasing the participation of young investigators by providing superior education and training opportunities for the next generation of breast cancer researchers.
The driving force behind the collaboration is the shared mission of the partners to advance progress against breast cancer. By combining their respective strengths, the partnership will produce a scientific meeting that encompasses the full spectrum of breast cancer research, facilitating the rapid translation of new knowledge into better care for breast cancer patients.
In 2010 Peter M. Ravdin, MD, PhD, Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers Chair for Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, Director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at UT Health Science Center assumed the role of Co-Director of the symposium upon the retirement of Charles A. Coltman, Jr, MD. Dr. Coltman remains Co-Director, ex-officio.
In 2011 Carlos L. Arteaga, Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, Interim Director, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Director, Breast Cancer Program, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University was appointed Co-Director of the symposium representing American Association for Cancer Research.
In 2014 Ismail Jatoi, MD, Professor and Division Chief Surgical Oncology at UT Health Science Center assumed the role of acting Co-Director of the symposium upon the retirement of Peter M. Ravdin, MD, PhD.
In 2015 Virginia G. Kaklamani, Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology at UT Health San Antonio and the leader of the Breast Cancer Program at the Mays Cancer Center assumed the role of Co-Director of the Symposium.
The UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine, through the Office of Continuing Medical Education, continues to be the provider of CME sponsorship for this premier breast cancer symposium.
All administrative functions are the responsibility of the Symposia Director and occur in the Symposium operations office, which is located at Mays Cancer Center, 7979 Wurzbach, San Antonio, Texas 78229. All proceeds from registration and abstract fees, industry educational grants, and exhibit fees, are used for Symposium development and operations, and for support of its staff which consists of the Symposia Director, Senior Meeting Planner, Conference Coordinators, Exhibit Manager, Registration Coordinator, and the Administrative Assistants.