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AACR 2015 Show Preview: Bringing cancer discoveries to the patients
106th American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2015
Pennsylvania Convention Center
April 18-22, 2015
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015, which AACR President Dr. Carlos Arteaga reminds us is the largest cancer research conference in the world, will highlight the “latest, most exciting” discoveries in every area of cancer research and is designed to provide a unique opportunity for investigators from all over the world to meet, interact and share their insights. This year’s meeting theme, “Bringing Cancer Discoveries to Patients,” underscores the vital and inextricable link between discovery and treatment, Arteaga says, and it reinforces the fact that research underpins all the progress being made in the field toward cancer cures.
Looking to the present
“This year is very exciting,” states Dr. Lewis C. Cantley of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, the AACR 2015 program committee chairperson. “A lot of progress has been made over the past year, particularly in immune therapy, targeted therapies and molecular medicine. There will be several major sessions in these areas and also on clinical trials, which will be emphasized more than in previous years. New drugs hitting new targets will be featured as part of this year’s emphasis on patients. Novel targets—the P13K gene, for example, that is often mutated in breast cancer—will be discussed.”
There will also, he says, be lectures discussing the biochemistry behind trials.
“Notably, the Obama administration provided additional funding in the area of precision medicine during the past year,” Cantley notes, “and we’ll have sessions focused on molecular therapy in this area.”
In the area of immune therapy, new targets have been discovered in melanoma, lung and pancreatic cancer.
“Some patients are cured, others don’t respond at all,” Cantley observes. There will be a session exploring why this is and discussing new targets and new approaches. “Early-stage trials will focus on mechanisms of resistance,” adds Arteaga, who works at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
Prevention will also be a topic of considerable attention. A recent article in Science suggested that up to one-third of all cancers could be prevented if smoking, obesity and diabetes were avoided. How lifestyles figure into prevention will be discussed.
Arteaga also noted the presumptive links between obesity and diabetes and their links to cancer which will be the subject of two sessions. Insulin resistance, he observes, may be linked to cancer. “There are signals of hope,” he states, “and we are the window to the rest of the world.”
Vision for the Future
New this year will be a wrap-up session on the final day of the conference, chaired by M. Celeste Simon of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute in Philadelphia. The session will distill “what’s new and important down to the hour-and-a-half session, collect and present the key information with supporting slides,” Cantley notes, with a rueful aside that admits to the enormity of the task. “I’ll have a lot of help,” he adds, with colleagues and staff working throughout the duration of the conference to aid in the process.
The presenters will be Cantley, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor and director of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College; Dr. William G. Nelson, the Marion I. Knott Director and director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University; and Arteaga, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s associate director for Clinical Research, leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program, director of the Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies and Donna S. Hall Chair in Breast Cancer.
A summary of the “Vision for the Future” session will be provided by Jose Baselga of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Cantley’s focus is targets and preclinical work, Nelson is an expert in prevention and epidemiology and Arteaga’s focus is clinical trials. “Themes of the session are likely to include precision medicine and what it’s telling us, immune combination therapies and exciting clinical trials,” Cantley opines.
For everyone—presenters, early-career and established researchers, clinicians and advocates—AACR’s annual meeting is a must-attend event, according to Cantley, who says, “We are developing a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program, with an outstanding roster of speakers, hundreds of invited talks and more than 6,000 proffered papers from researchers all over the world. We want to thank the Program Committee co-chairpersons and Education Committee members for their incredible guidance in shaping an innovative program that will be both enjoyable and educational to all attendees and attract major media attention from around the world.”
“Together we are making astounding progress in the fight against cancer,” Cantley continues. “It is taking less time than ever for our research to be translated into improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies for patients. This is an exciting time for cancer research. By attending the AACR Annual Meeting, you will find ideas, people and moments that provide you with renewed energy, inspiration and focus in your work.”
AACR Academy inducts 11
PHILADELPHIA—The American Association for Cancer Research will formally induct its 2015 class of elected fellows of the AACR Academy at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015 to be held in Philadelphia from April 18-22.
The academy serves to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. All fellows are nominated and elected through a peer-review process conducted by existing fellows of the AACR Academy and ratified by the AACR Executive Committee. This process involves an assessment of each candidate on the basis of his or her scientific achievements in cancer research and cancer-related biomedical science.
“Our 2015 class of fellows includes 11 luminaries in the field of cancer research, in honor of the 11 founders of the AACR in 1907. We are delighted to recognize the incredible scientific accomplishments of these illustrious researchers and celebrate how their dedicated efforts have helped accelerate the pace of progress against many of the hundreds of diseases we collectively call cancer,” said Dr. Margaret Foti, CEO of the AACR.
This brain trust of global leaders in cancer research offers invaluable insight into the future of cancer research and patient care and continues to work with the AACR in its mission to prevent and cure all cancers.
Members of the 2015 class of fellows of the AACR Academy are:
Plenary and educational sessions at the annual meeting
Because it is not possible to attend every session at AACR’s annual meeting, a new plenary session will provide meeting highlights spanning basic, translational and clinical science, as well as prevention and early detection. Four plenary sessions featuring leading experts in their field have been developed to cover topics of broad importance and areas of growth.
Opening Plenary: The Genome and Beyond
Sunday, April 19, 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Chairperson: Lewis C. Cantley, Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York
“Insights from cancer genomes into the mutational processes underlying cancer development” by Michael R. Stratton, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, U.K.
“Above the genome: The epigenome and its biology and translational potential” by Stephen B. Baylin, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.
“Engineering the cancer genome” by Tyler Jacks, David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, Cambridge, Mass.
“Using genomics to personalize cancer immunotherapy” by Robert D. Schreiber, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Precision Medicine Comes to Cancer Prevention and Screening
Monday, April 20, 8:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
This session will include four presentations that highlight recent advances in cancer prevention.
The first presentation will focus on the use of multitarget stool DNA testing to enhance colorectal cancer screening. The second presentation will provide an update of our understanding of the chemopreventive properties of aspirin. The identification of molecular endpoints and pathways that help to identify individuals most likely to benefit from aspirin will be reviewed.
The third presentation will focus on liver cancer, which remains among the top causes of cancer mortality in the world. Evidence will be presented that liver injury is carcinogenic because it stimulates regenerative responses that relax forces which normally constrain the inherent multipotency of adult liver cells.
The final presentation will focus on HPV-related cancers. The latest advances in reducing the burden of HPV-related cancers through primary and secondary prevention will be reviewed.
Chairperson: Andrew J. Dannenberg. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York
“Stool DNA detection of colorectal neoplasia: A new high bar for noninvasive screening” by David A. Ahlquist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
“Molecular risk stratification for aspirin chemoprevention” by Andrew T. Chan, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
“Early Detection and Prevention of Liver Cancer: Leveraging Lessons Learned from Liver Repair” by Anna Mae E. Diehl, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.
“Drastically reducing HPV-associated cancers through etiologically based primary and secondary prevention” by Douglas R. Lowy, Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
Tuesday, April 21, 8:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Drug resistance is the primary challenge faced by all practicing oncologists. The advent of targeted therapies has provided exciting opportunities not only to understand the mechanisms through which resistance occurs, but also to design approaches that overcome this resistance. The presentations in this session will describe the latest developments in this area of research, from the perspectives of genetics, drug development, clinical application and cell biology.
Chairperson: Bert Vogelstein, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, Md.
“Drug resistance: A genetic perspective” by Bert Vogelstein
“Genetic screens to understand drug resistance” by Alan Ashworth, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco
“Drug resistance: Translating discoveries into the clinic” by Alice T. Shaw, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston
“Drug resistance: A cell biologist’s perspective” by Joan S. Brugge, Harvard Medical School, Boston
Oncology Meets Immunology: Not Just Another "Hallmark"
Wednesday, April 22, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
It is now well appreciated that a fundamental aspect of cancer biology involves interactions of neoplastic cells with the immune system, which can either promote or inhibit tumor growth, depending on complex networks in the tumor microenvironment. Mechanistic insights from basic studies in cancer immunology have resulted in novel, rational therapeutics for patients with advanced cancer that have produced unprecedented clinical results, even in tumors not previously regarded as amenable to such approaches. The consensus in the field—to be illustrated in this plenary session—is that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg for cancer immunotherapy, posing a challenge to investigators, advocates, government, industry and others to capture this opportunity quickly and fully for the benefit of our patients.
Chairperson: Robert H. Vonderheide, Abramson Cancer Center of University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
“Engineering improved cancer vaccines” by Glenn Dranoff, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston
“Leukocytes as targets for therapy in solid tumors” by Lisa M. Coussens, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, Ore.
“Fatal Attraction: A new story featuring the immune system and pancreatic cancer” by Elizabeth M. Jaffee, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
“The mechanistic basis of cancer immunotherapy” by Ira Mellman, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, Calif.
In addition to these Plenary Sessions, there are a number of additional Educational Sessions that are expected to be of major interest to AACR attendees.
Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy for the Non-Immunologist
Saturday, April 18, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
This session is intended to familiarize non-immunologists with fundamental immune responses to cancer and highlight innovative strategies for immunotherapy of cancer. It will also be informative to tumor immunologists as they will learn of the latest research efforts of the speakers. Immediately following the session, the Cancer Immunology Working Group has set up one-on-one round table tutorials with experts in the field. This session will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Liberty Ballroom (Level 3) of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown for participants who are interested in learning more.
The immune system is a powerful deterrent to cancer development and progression, and its evasion is a key hallmark of cancer. Innate immunity serves as the first line of defense which, when breached, allows the establishment of a tumor that can create an environment conducive to suppression of adaptive immunity against cancer. With loss of innate and adaptive immunity, the growth potential of tumors goes unchecked.
Ironically, inflammation may positively or negatively impact cancer immunity and tumor growth. Recent work on inflammation and cancer points to the gut microbiome as an important component in balancing immune responses to cancer. Better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of immune modulation in cancer is needed to develop new therapeutic strategies that can effectively recover immunity against cancer and result in a durable clinical outcome and better patient survival.
The presentations in this session will touch upon all these areas, beginning with the microbiota, followed by deliberation on the role of various types of innate lymphoid cells and T cells and bringing to the clinic practical approaches to treat cancer from lessons learned. What antigens T cells must recognize to tame the cancer is also a critical issue, as well as how neoantigens created by mutant genes in the cancer cell can be identified and put to use. There will be a brief discussion after each presentation.
Chairperson: Julie Y. Djeu, Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Fla.
“Microbiome, inflammation and cancer” by Giorgio Trinchieri, NCI-Frederick, Frederick, Md.
“Innate immunity and cancer” by Todd A. Fehniger, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
“Neoantigens and immunotherapy of cancer” by Ton Schumacher, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam
“Checkpoint inhibitors and clinical application in melanoma” by Jeffrey S. Weber, Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
Computation and Functional Modeling of Hot Big Data
Saturday, April 18, 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
In recent years, we have experienced a spectacular increase in the power and versatility of both analytical and modeling platforms. This ranges from new technologies to decipher nucleic acid sequences and identify proteins at great depth and decreasing cost, to effective methods to functionally mine the genome in vitro and in animal models. The typical output of such approaches is so-called Big Data, which comes with several challenges.
The topic that the speakers in this session will cover is the functional annotation of Big Data. For example, you will get insight into data-driven identification of synthetic lethality networks to identify cancer-specific vulnerabilities on a genome-wide scale. Speakers will discuss high-throughput shRNA and CRISPR-Cas9 genetic perturbation screens in vitro and in vivo, aiming to uncover novel cancer genes as well as targets amenable to therapeutic intervention. Finally, large-scale mouse knockout programs will be presented that allow for identification of tumor modifiers. There will be a brief discussion after each presentation
Chairperson: Daniel S. Peeper, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam
“Analyzing large genomic, phenotypic and clinical data identifies novel syntheticlethal cancer drug targets” by Eytan Ruppin, Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, College Park, Md.
“Large-scale genetic screens in mice: Pathways, drivers and drug resistance” by David J. Adams. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, Mass.
“Genome-scale CRISPR/Cas9 screening: Technology and applications” by Neville Sanjana, Broad Institure of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Mass.
Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes
Sunday, Apr 19, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) project of the International Cancer Genome Consortium and The Cancer Genome Atlas is coordinating analysis of more than 2,000 whole cancer genomes. Each genome is characterized through a suite of centralized algorithms, including alignment to the reference genome, standardized quality assessment and calling of all classes of somatic mutation. Scientists participating in the research projects of PCAWG are addressing a series of fundamental questions about cancer biology and evolution based on these data, a sample of which will be presented at this session. Key areas of study include discovery of driver mutations outside of the protein-coding regions of the genome; integrating mutational signatures across tumor types and mutation categories; characterizing subclonal structures and patterns of genome evolution across cancers; investigating relationships between germline and somatic mutations; and investigating biological pathways targeted by driver mutations. There will be a brief discussion after each presentation.
Chairperson: Peter J. Campbell, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institure, Cambridge, U.K.
“Cancer genome analysis in the cloud: Technical, ethical and legal challenges” by Lincoln Stein, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto
“Investigation of germline genetic variation in 2,500 whole cancer genomes” by Jan Korbel, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany
“Pathways and Drivers in 2,000 cancer genomes” by Joshua M. Stuart, University of California, Santa Cruz
“Structural variation in 2,000 cancer genomes” by Peter J. Campbell, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Microbiome and Tumor Immunity
Monday, Apr 20, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Commensal microorganisms colonize barrier surfaces of all multicellular organisms. For more than 500 million years, commensal microorganisms and their hosts have coevolved and adapted to each other. As a result, the commensal microbiota affects many immune and non-immune functions of its host, and de facto, the two together comprise one metaorganism.
Microbial imbalance may play a critical role in the development of multiple diseases. The commensal microbiota affects the development, progression and immune evasion of cancer, but it has also important effects on the response to cancer immune therapy and chemotherapy. Tumor-associated myeloid cells play a dual role inducing antitumor immune responses but mostly promoting immune evasion, tumor progression and metastases formation. Myeloid cells respond to signals derived from commensal microbes that modulate their function and reactivity in inflammation and their ability to act as antigen presenting cells controlling adaptive immunity, thus affecting the tumor environment and the response to cancer therapy.
Chairperson: Giorgio Trinchieri. NCI-Frederick, Frederick, Md.
“The microbiota in carcinogenesis and cancer therapy” by Giorgio Trinchieri
“Microbial-driven cytokine expression fuels colorectal cancer progression” by Sergei I. Grivennikov, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia
“Microbial activities promote development of CRC” by Christian Jobin, University of Florida, Gainesville
“Ipilimumab and gut microbiota: Novel aspects of immunotherapy” by Laurence Zitvogel, Institute Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif, France
Liquid Biopsy Approaches for Detecting, Monitoring and Characterizing Human Cancer
Tuesday, Apr 21, 1 p.m to 3 p.m.
Analyses of cancer genomes have revealed mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis and new avenues for personalized therapeutic intervention. Nevertheless, there is great complexity in the alterations of individual tumors and a realization that these can change during disease progression. This session will focus on new technologies that have emerged to analyze molecular alterations in the circulation of cancer patients, including as circulating tumor cells, cell-free tumor DNA and exosomal nucleic acids. These approaches have important implications for noninvasive detection and monitoring of human cancer, therapeutic stratification and identification of mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies.
Chairperson: Victor E. Velculescu, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, Md.
“Characterization of circulating tumor cells” by Daniel A. Haber, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown
“SY37-02: Monitoring tumor evolution by whole-genome plasma sequencing” by Michael R. Speicher, Ellen Heitzer, Peter Ulz and Jochen B. Geigl, Medical University of Graz, Austria
“Exosomes: Next generation diagnostics” by Johan Skog, Exosome Diagnostics Inc., New York
“Liquid biopsy approaches for characterizing cancer genomes” by Victor E. Velculescu
Technology at the annual meeting
The AACR is dedicated to bringing attendees the latest innovations in mobile technology to enhance and facilitate their annual meeting experience, offering the following technology products and services:
Free wireless internet access will be available to meeting attendees in the convention center.
Online Proceedings/Itinerary Planner: Search all annual meeting presentations (including all proffered abstracts) by author/speaker, title word and keyword, and create a personal itinerary for the meeting.
Mobile Itineraries: Personal itineraries created in the Itinerary Planner can be exported as an iCalendar file into users’ personal Outlook, Google Calendar or Apple iCal applications. Itineraries are also available as an HTML page that can be e-mailed to users’ smartphones (iPhone, Palm Pre/Centro, HTC Touch Pro and Blackberry Curve/Storm/Pearl).
Mobile Proceedings: The digital edition of the Proceedings will contain abstracts of all proffered papers accepted for presentation as well as the extended abstracts submitted by invited speakers. The abstracts will be available in mobi and e-pub file formats for download to devices such as the Amazon Kindle, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Sony Reader and the Barnes & Noble Nook.
Proceedings CD-ROM: Search and browse all annual meeting abstract presentations by author/speaker, title word, keyword and session type. The annual meeting CD-ROM will only be available for purchase. To receive a copy of the CD-ROM at the meeting, you must check the appropriate box on the registration form. The cost will be $10.
Annual Meeting 2015 Program Guide App: Carry the annual meeting with you wherever you go—with or without a network connection. The Program Guide App is available in native versions to serve users of iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and also in a browser-based version for use on most web-enabled smartphones and tablets.
The Program Guide App offers the following features:
AACR Video App: Recordings of all AACR press conferences and relevant AACR videos are available at no charge through the AACR Video App, downloadable for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Learn more at www.AACR.org/videoapp.
Early-career scientists were invited to apply to give a talk in a Major Symposium or Recent Advances Session at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015. Speaking slots are limited and available to all AACR associate members and any AACR active members who are at the junior faculty level (not higher than assistant professor or equivalent). This program debuted in 2014 with five AACR NextGen Stars giving short talks in major sessions. The NextGen Stars program provides an opportunity to increase the visibility of early-career scientists at the AACR Annual Meeting and to support the professional development and advancement of those selected to speak.
NextGen Stars for 2015 will receive travel support and complimentary registration for the meeting.
AACR 2015 Cancer and Biomedical Research Career Fair
Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Scientists at all levels are invited to attend the AACR Career Fair during the AACR Annual Meeting 2015 in Philadelphia. The fair will enable job seekers to connect with employers from government, industry and academia. Representatives from prospective employers will be available to interview job seekers.
Future Annual Meetings
April 16-20, 2016
April 1-5, 2017
April 14-18, 2018
March 30-April 3, 2019
Exhibit Show Hours
Sunday, April 19
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, April 20
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, April 21
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, April 22
9 a.m. to noon
Continuing Medical Education (CME)
The American Association for Cancer Research is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education activities for physicians.
Credit Designation Statement
The AACR has designated this live activity for a maximum of 45.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Credit certification for individual sessions may vary, dependent upon compliance with the ACCME accreditation criteria. The final number of credits may vary from the maximum number indicated above.
Claiming (CME) Credit
Physicians and other health care professionals seeking AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) for this live continuing medical education activity must complete the CME Request for Credit Survey by Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Certificates will only be issued to those who complete the survey. Your CME certificate will be sent to you via email after the completion of the activity.
Statement of Educational Need, Target Audience, and Learning Objectives
New technologies, scientific advances and exponential developments in the field of translational cancer medicine have led to changes in oncology practice and significant patient benefit. By bridging the gap between what physicians understand about cancer biology and the clinical applications, this meeting aids basic researchers, physicians and clinician-scientists in obtaining, synthesizing and integrating the most cutting-edge research. This exposure is essential for the implementation of best practices, such as the most current molecular-based tests to aid in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. Through the active participation of clinical investigators and physicians in the meeting, laboratory researchers will obtain a better understanding of the wider context of their research in the “bench-to-bedside” continuum.
After participating in this CME activity, physicians should be able to:
It is the policy of the AACR that the information presented at AACR CME activities will be unbiased and based on scientific evidence. To help participants make judgments about the presence of bias, the AACR will provide information that Program Committee members and speakers have disclosed about financial relationships they have with commercial entities that produce or market products or services related to the content of this CME activity. This disclosure information will be made available in the program/proceedings of this conference.
Acknowledgement of Financial or Other Support
This activity is supported by grants and will be disclosed at the activity.
Questions about CME?
Please contact the Office of CME at (215) 440-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org