Highlights from the Program Chair: Saturday, April 10

Charles Swanton, FRCP, BSc, PhD, FAACR
Charles Swanton, MBPhD, FAACR

Welcome to day one of the AACR Annual Meeting 2021! We have assembled a world-class schedule of live and On Demand programming that, over the next week, will bring together some of the top minds in cancer medicine and research from around the world to share the latest discoveries and advances.

The live program kicks off today at 9:30 a.m. EDT with an exciting new plenary session: Discovery Science Plenary: Mechanisms, Impact, and Exploitation of Cancer Chromosomal Instability – Dedicated to the Memory of Angelika Amon.

I think it has become increasingly clear over the last decade that chromosomal instability is an incredibly important aspect of tumor biology that we need to better understand. It is especially fitting that this session is dedicated to the memory of Angelika Amon, PhD, a renowned cell biologist and cancer researcher who passed away last year following a prolonged illness with ovarian cancer, a disease characterized by profound chromosomal instability that she dedicated her career to understanding.

Today’s program also includes several sessions featuring the latest results from a variety of important and late-breaking clinical trials. At 11:30 a.m. EDT, AACR Annual Meeting Clinical Trials Committee Co-Chairs Manuel Hidalgo, MD, PhD, and Julie R. Brahmer, MD, MSc, will lead the Clinical Trials Plenary Session, Phase III Clinical Trials, which is dedicated to the memory of AACR Past-President José Baselga, MD, PhD.  The session will feature the latest results from four major trials looking at treatments for relapsed indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma, metastatic uveal melanoma, resectable non-small cell lung cancer, and resected stage IIIB-D/IV melanoma.

The following are more of today’s sessions that will spotlight clinical trials and cutting-edge research studies:

This afternoon’s schedule also features nine minisymposia covering a variety of hot topics, including drug tolerance and resistance to targeted therapies, multiomics and single cell deconvolution of cancer, and identifying disparities and under-served populations to influence personalized medicine, just to name a few.

Rounding out the day’s schedule are three special sessions, including the first two parts of this year’s three-part New Drugs on the Horizon series of sessions sponsored by the AACR Chemistry in Cancer Research Working Group (CICR). These sessions have always proven to be an excellent opportunity to learn about the next wave of innovative cancer drugs progressing in the clinic. Part 1 will take place at 1:30 p.m. EDT, followed by Part 2 at 4 p.m. EDT. Part 3 of the series will take place on Monday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Finally, the first of three dedicated NextGen Stars Spotlight Session—Genetics and Epigenetics will be held this afternoon at 4 p.m. EDT. These sessions are designed to give early-career scientists the opportunity to showcase their research at the Annual Meeting. I encourage you to submit your questions to be answered during the live Q&A.

Along with the live programming, the AACR 2021 program also features dozens of On Demand sessions that can be watched anytime. Be sure to consult the final program for the most up-to-date information. Recordings of both live and on demand sessions will be available for registered attendees to watch until June 21, 2021.