Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Cancer Center, outlined current opportunities and challenges in cancer research and treatment, and provided a vision to meet them during a presentation at the 13th annual Phillips Society luncheon Sept. 7.

“The approach revolves around early cancer detection in combination with blossoming precision treatments like genetically-targeted and immune-based therapies,” Haber said. “The past decade has brought successive waves of breakthroughs for many types of cancer, with some of the toughest cancers becoming the most treatable. But treatments for advanced cancer remain arduous and, too frequently, unsuccessful.”

He added, “What if we could diagnose cancers at a stage when they are most likely to be curable and when the treatments may be less difficult?” Using the science and technology of imaging and blood analysis, and the clinical expertise from across the MGH to catch cancer early is the MGH Cancer Center’s highest priority, he said.

The annual event celebrates the impact of philanthropy from Phillips Society members – a group of individuals who include the MGH in their estate plan through a will or other planned gift – and those who establish an endowed fund.

Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, welcomed the more than 200 guests and thanked the Phillips Society members for being “the lifeblood of this hospital.”

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