Annual Meeting showcases late-breaking, practice-changing clinical trial results

Manuel Hidalgo, MD, PhD
Manuel Hidalgo, MD, PhD

As scientists and clinicians around the world continue to make important strides and break new ground in cancer research, the breadth and depth of clinical trials submitted for presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting continues to expand. This year, clinical trials will be presented as part of plenary sessions, minisymposia, and poster sessions over the course of the meeting.

“We were not only very pleased with the number of clinical trial abstracts that were submitted this year, but also very impressed by the breadth of concepts, including important studies exploring early to late drug development, new molecular entities targeting known alterations, and optimizing noninvasive ways that we can assess cancer,” said Manuel Hidalgo, MD, PhD. “Among the major themes we’ll see in this year’s clinical trials is immunotherapy, with mature data from groundbreaking randomized trials looking at innovative new immunotherapy agents.”

Hidalgo serves as co-chair of the AACR Annual Meeting Clinical Trials Committee along with Julie R. Brahmer, MD, MSc.

Julie R. Brahmer, MD, MSc
Julie R. Brahmer, MD, MSc

“We will see results from a significant portfolio of biomarker-driven trials looking at cell therapy, either alone or in rational combinations, a variety of new targets, new strategies, and new anti-cancer agents,” Brahmer said. “Cell therapy is a progressively emerging field, and recent and ongoing biomarker studies are helping us to understand both how drugs work and how to select patients most likely to benefit from those drugs.”

Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear the latest results from studies looking at a number of new technologies that have the potential to inform both the way clinical trials are conducted and the way patients are treated.

“I think much of the research we’ll hear about this year clearly illustrates how we’re starting to move beyond just checkpoint inhibition to novel agents that are really starting to show activity,” Brahmer said. “Being able to highlight so many potentially practice-changing studies at the Annual Meeting is quite meaningful and demonstrates how translational the meeting and the field of cancer research have become.”

Hidalgo agrees and emphasizes the value of the Annual Meeting in offering attendees the chance to learn about the latest developments and future directions in cancer research, all in one place at one time.

“At the AACR Annual Meeting, you get in a few days the most important updates and new information that would otherwise take you months to digest,” Hidalgo said. “And it’s not just the data—it’s the opportunity to hear directly from the authors and the discussants, to ask questions, and to foster new collaborations and mature existing ones. The meeting is a powerful engine for generating the knowledge and new ideas that move us forward.”

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