Schedule highlights from the Program Chair: Monday, April 11

We got off to a great start this weekend at the AACR Annual Meeting in New Orleans, and we’ve heard about some exciting findings and emerging discoveries from some of the most innovative cancer research being conducted across the globe—and we’re barely halfway done!

Marcia R. Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD
Marcia R. Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD

The program continues today with another packed schedule of cutting-edge science, including 10 Meet-the-Expert sessions, 18 major symposia, 11 minisymposia, seven forums, and seven award presentations and lectures.

Reflecting the AACR’s ongoing commitment to addressing and overcoming disparities in cancer, this morning’s Plenary Session Decoding Cancer Health Disparities: Integration of Complex Data and Diversity to Achieve Equity will explore how complex datasets, biobanks, patient engagement opportunities, and patient risk assessment tools are being leveraged to achieve health equity across patient communities. This session, which will be held from 8 – 10 a.m. CDT in Hall B-C at the convention center, will be moderated by Mariana C. Stern, PhD, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

At 10:15 a.m. CDT, AACR President David A. Tuveson, MD, PhD, FAACR, will chair the Presidential Select Symposium: Aging, Stress, and Cancer in New Orleans Theater C. He will be joined by an outstanding panel of researchers who will discuss innovative and experimental research that is providing important insight into the potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between stress and cancer, as well as how premature tissue aging may impact tumor progression.

Later this afternoon, Tuveson will introduce and then have a “fireside chat” with National Cancer Institute Principal Deputy Director Douglas R. Lowy, MD, who will replace outgoing NCI Director Norman E. Sharpless, MD, at the end of April. Sharpless announced his resignation one week ago, so AACR attendees will be hearing some of the first public comments from Lowy. The session, Research Progress, Funding, and Opportunities: A Fireside Chat featuring Douglas R. Lowy, MD, Incoming Acting Director, National Cancer Institute, will begin at 3 p.m. CDT in Room 343-345 at the convention center.

Back to this morning’s program, the third of our four Clinical Trials Plenary Sessions, Neoadjuvant and Perioperative Immunotherapy Clinical Trials, will include important emerging findings from trials looking at checkpoint blockade immunotherapy in early-stage disease. The session will be held from 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. CDT in Hall B-C.

We’ll also hear about some innovative agents, including small molecules and biologics, in the research pipeline during New Drugs on the Horizon: Part 3, which will be held from 10:15 – 11:45 a.m. CDT in La Nouvelle Orleans A-B.

For a comprehensive update on new AACR programs and initiatives, stop by the AACR Annual Business Meeting of Members today from 12 – 1:30 p.m. CDT in Room 293-294. Among other agenda items, the meeting includes the annual presidential transfer of power ceremony and an open forum for discussion of any new business. All AACR members are welcome to attend.

We gather each year at the Annual Meeting to celebrate the sharing of knowledge and the collaborations of our global organization that drive progress in cancer research. This afternoon’s program includes two joint sessions that illustrate that point: AACR-JCA Joint Session on Organoids: Tumor Cells, Microenvironments, and Beyond, beginning at 2:30 p.m. CDT in Room 265-268, and AACR-ASCO Joint Session: Pathophysiology and New Treatments for Cancer-Associated Thrombosis at 5 p.m. CDT in Room 243-245.

Finally, I encourage you to stick around the convention center this evening for a special screening of a new documentary commemorating the life and legacy of Past AACR President José Baselga, MD, PhD, FAACR, who worked tirelessly for decades as a researcher, clinician, and leader, and was a major force in the development of molecularly targeted therapies and in making precision cancer medicine a reality for patients.

Special Documentary Screening: “José Baselga: Cancer’s Fiercest Opponent” will take place from 6:30 – 8 p.m. CDT in New Orleans Theater C. Drinks, snacks, and refreshments will be served. Join us and learn about the legacy of Basalga. Opening remarks will be delivered by AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), and Susan Galbraith, MD, PhD, who is a member of the AACR Board of Directors and the executive vice president of oncology research and development at AstraZeneca.

Be sure to check AACR Meeting News each day for more meeting highlights, program previews, session recaps, and all the news from the Annual Meeting in New Orleans.