Just wrapping a three day trip at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Scottsdale, AZ. One of my favorite meetings each year as many of OCF’s supported researchers are presenting their work here, and it is great to share their company; not only getting myself up to speed on the latest ideas through their personal mentoring of me, but to meet new bright researchers just starting in the field that we care about so much. It is such a privilege to have some of the great thought leaders in oral and oropharyngeal cancers, HPV, immunotherapy, molecular markers, who have become good friends over the years, share their evenings after the meeting with me, and take the time to ensure that I really understand the current state of things and what our current opportunities and obstacles are in improving treatments and outcomes. It’s a charmed place for a country boy like me to find himself….. With Maura Gillison who presented OCF co-sponsored paper defining why men are getting HPV cancer at a rate 4 times greater than women, Carole Fakhry prominent head and neck surgeon from Johns Hopkins and co-investigator and author on many of Gillison’s HPV papers, Mark Lingen highly respected molecular marker and research pathologist, on the opportunity of genetic and proteomic insights that may guide targeted treatment choices (like the highly successful PDL-1 immunotherapy treatment that was the cancer news item that dominated 2015) and facilitate early discovery. Mark also several years ago, developed the definitive E6-E7 test to confirm HPV etiology with Gillison, an effort funded by OCF’s donors, and critical now as we look at de-escalation of radiation treatments in HPV+ patients in clinical trials. Next week I’ll be off to NYC to speak at the Global Oral Cancer Forum. Besides my contributions as a presenter, I will get to listen to oral cancer experts from countries around the globe and exchange ideas, some of which I hope we will find applications for here in the US.