The Sentinel


Monday, September 16, 2019

President's Message - September 2019

Dear Colleagues,

I’d like to begin this month’s President’s Message honoring Stan Collender (1951-2019). Stan, an immunotherapy pioneer and advocate, was a cancer patient of past SITC President Michael B. Atkins, MD. Dr. Atkins first met Stan in 2012 when he presented with Merkel Cell Carcinoma. From there, they developed a close relationship as Stan courageously fought his disease with immunotherapy for many years. Their experience and efforts together taught us much about the impact and limitations of immunotherapy. Read more about Stan’s life and contributions to our field in the heartfelt memorial posted by Dr. Atkins to The Sentinel, SITC’s official blog.

As you know, breakthroughs in research and the advent of new cancer immunotherapy treatments this century spurred an explosion of interest and investment in our field. Through offerings like the Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) brings together the most accomplished and innovative researchers in the field to spark new collaborations and force consideration of new ideas that prompt discovery of new targets and approaches.

While the SITC Annual Meeting is perhaps our most important and visible effort to advance science and improve patient outcomes, many other SITC activities contribute to our core mission. SITC’s Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy™ (ACI) regional education series is an example of how SITC leverages its member’s clinical and science expertise to inform patient care, particularly safe and effective treatment administration. At the other end of the spectrum of SITC programs, the society seeks to expand research and knowledge in our field through the professional development of early career scientists. Young investigators are the future of cancer immunotherapy research. SITC is investing in their future through a variety of programs that provide education and professional development and promote community and collaboration.

One of our most effective programs aimed at young investigators is the SITC Meet-the-Experts – an annual luncheon at the SITC Annual Meeting (Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, at 12:05 p.m.) organized by the Early Career Scientist Committee that connects young investigators with leaders in the field. It has now grown to a year-round initiative featuring regular, free webinars. These online events focus on various topics that are pertinent to an early career scientist’s professional development. Most recently, Tullia Bruno, PhD (University of Pittsburgh), moderated our Aug. 22 webinar focused on Careers in Science Away from the Bench, which you can view on-demand here.

SITC will once again host a Cancer Immunotherapy Winter School on Jan. 13-17, 2020, at the Hilton Houston Post Oak in Houston, Texas. Led by program organizers Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD (Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy/University of California San Francisco), and Leisha A. Emens, MD, PhD (UPMC Hillman Cancer Center), this program provides intensive instruction on the core principles of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. These programs also foster connections among peers which is critical component to their future success.

SITC also strengthens the support network for young scientists through the Professional Interest Communities. These digital discussion forums connect individuals of similar professional and personal backgrounds to share career development needs, address professional hurdles and more.

Beyond the basic education and professional development offered by SITC, SITC Fellowships provide funding to support the early careers of the most talented scientists. Supported through the Forward Fund, SITC has awarded more than $2 million in Fellowship Awards since 2014. Stay tuned later this year for information about 2020 SITC Fellowships.

SITC offers an affordable membership rate of $50 for students and scientists-in-training. Joining our society provides discounted access to vital SITC in-person programs and reduced fees on articles accepted to the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC). It also places young investigators in a professional network of the most influential basic scientists, translational researchers and clinicians in the field. Click here to become a SITC member and join the world’s leading organization dedicated solely to cancer immunotherapy research.

Finally, I would like to recognize and thank the countless number of women who organized, facilitated and attended SITC’s Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network Leadership Institute in Seattle last month. This exciting new program from SITC, championed by immediate Past President Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD, was a rousing success. I look forward to seeing our society continue its effort to support, advance and celebrate the success of women in our field.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A Tribute to Stan Collender: The Budget Guy, Immunotherapy Pioneer (Patient #1), Colleague and Friend (1951-2019)

By Michael B. Atkins, MD

Stan Collender was a man of many remarkable talents. Among his many achievements, he was widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the federal budget earning himself the moniker, “The Budget Guy,” and in 2012 receiving both the prestigious Howard Award for lifetime achievement in federal budgeting from the American Society for Public Administration and the James L. Blum Award from the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis. Stan was also my longstanding patient- an immunotherapy pioneer and an advocate whose experience and efforts taught us much about the impact and limitations of immunotherapy. Stan died May 3, 2019. Below is his cancer story from my perspective.

Stan Collender
I first met Stan in 2012 when he presented to my oncology practice status post resection of a Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) on the bridge of his nose. We reviewed his history and the pathology and recommended a wide local excision and a sentinel lymph node biopsy. On hearing this recommendation, he joked that he was a local television celebrity so needed to protect his looks. I assured him that the plastic surgeon was up to the challenge.

After the successful surgery, we followed Stan at regular intervals. About 1 year later we noted he had developed an enlarged neck lymph node. Upon hearing this news Stan became diaphoretic, pale and promptly fainted. While he was out cold lying on an exam table and then gradually regaining consciousness, I remember thinking, “this is not going to be easy.”  But I never anticipated the novel, groundbreaking twists and turns Stan’s case would take, nor the heroic role he would assume as a patient advocate, or that I would be writing this posthumous tribute to a man I came to admire and care deeply about as a courageous colleague and friend.

Despite Stan’s tremulous start, he was an absolute rock thereafter. He underwent lymph node dissection and post-operative radiation therapy without a hitch. He subsequently developed a solitary brain lesion, which was also resected and treated with adjuvant stereotactic radiation to the resection bed. Unfortunately he developed widespread systemic disease six months later. In weighing treatment options available at the time, I recommended he participate in a clinical trial involving a then experimental immunotherapy, pembrolizumab, that we’d had good experience with in patients with melanoma, but had yet to test in patients with MCC. He volunteered for the clinical trial without hesitation, despite it being conducted in Seattle. He was literally Patient # 1 - a pioneer- on this important Cancer Immunotherapy Network (CITN) trial led by Drs. Paul Nghiem and Shailender Bhatia. Every 3 weeks he flew from DC to Seattle to receive his experimental treatment.  The pembrolizumab worked well: after two years of treatment his disease there was no visible signs of residual disease on imaging studies- his disease was apparently gone.  Not only did this treatment help Stan, but based on the results of this groundbreaking clinical trial, pembrolizumab receive FDA approval and is now the standard of care for patients with treatment na├»ve advanced MCC, providing benefit to countless patients with this disease.

Stan embraced this treatment success and his new lease on life with his typical gusto. He wrote an OpEd in the New York Times where he described his clinical trial experience. Rejecting the concept of being a guinea pig, he wrote he felt more like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier and going where no one else had gone before. He encouraged others to participate in clinical trials and became a leading spokesman and a tireless advocate for the immunotherapy, MCC and cancer clinical trials communities. Just like Chuck Yeager in aviation, in MCC and immunotherapy circles, he became a national hero.

With his cancer in remission, Stan and I moved beyond our traditional patient-physician relationship: we became collaborators and friends. When Stan joined the Georgetown faculty, teaching public relations and public policy classes, we officially became colleagues.  Over lunches we strategized on how we could best represent the value of immunotherapy relative to other cancer treatments, as well as how to encourage cancer clinical trials participation and more public private partnerships such as the CITN trial he’d participated in.

Stan was frequently in attendance when I gave educational briefings to Congressional staffers, and welcomed me singling him out as Patient #1 on the MCC CITN trial. We served together on SITC committees focusing on measuring the value of immunotherapy, where Stan’s personal experience and budget expertise were both unique and invaluable. When I received my endowed chair, I was honored to have Stan and his beloved wife Maura, join me at the dinner ceremony and celebration.

In 2017, Stan was invited to give the Keynote lecture at the annual American Association of Cancer Institute’s meeting in DC. He talked about his views of the upcoming federal budget and its potential impact on cancer research funding, but he also described his personal battle with cancer, his experience as a survivor, and thanked me publicly for having encouraged him to pursue the CITN trial. Sitting in the audience, I felt both like a proud teacher witnessing my prized pupil excel, and grateful to see him healthy and choosing to apply his experience, talent and renewed health to benefit others.

Over lunches, we talked about his potentially running for Congress in the Virginia 6th in 2018 and how wonderful it would be to have a vocal cancer survivor and immunotherapy and clinical research advocate in Congress. He ultimately withdrew this pursuit, but came to my house for a gathering of concerned voters in his ex-candidate’s capacity to discuss the race and promote the candidacy of Jennifer Wexton - who ultimately was elected to serve the district.

And so it went. Stan and I had developed a shared mission and fought together on several fronts for its success. I thought we’d be doing this together for the rest of our careers.

Then all hell broke loose. Stan was almost 2 years out from his last therapy, a time when we usually consider patients who have responded to immunotherapy to be cured. So it was a shock when he presented in December 2018 with hand weakness, headaches and difficulty swallowing and a head MRI which showed that his lateral ventricles were packed with tumor. I had never seen anything like this presentation before and had no idea that MCC could do this. His tumor had recurred exclusively in one of the few places where the immune system doesn’t reach.

The word spread like wildfire through the MCC and immunotherapy communities. It was devastating. The pioneer/ hero- MCC patient # 1 - had relapsed. I was once again thrust into action as his physician, proposing a variety of approaches all focused on trying to get his immune system re-activated and into his ventricles where the tumor was hiding. A lot of my proposed treatments were quite involved and associated with considerable risk, but Stan was always positive. He would respond to my carefully chosen words of encouragement such as,  “I hope this works” or “This could work” with an optimistic “It is going to work” and a courageous “Let’s do it!”  Although Maura was more attuned to the uncertainty in my recommendations, Stan’s optimism usually prevailed.

Ultimately, the tumor could not be controlled and we ran out of both treatment options and optimism. Maura and Stan decided to focus on comfort measures. Stan passed away peacefully at home on May 3rd, 2019.

At his memorial celebration a few weeks later, person after person spoke about how they knew Stan, each describing a unique contribution he had made during his remarkable careers in Government, public policy, public relations, as well as in intramural football and as a family man. Clearly Stan was a true “mensch” with his many interests, passions and strong commitment to both his family and the world around him. His impact on the MCC, immunotherapy and cancer clinical trials communities was profound and enduring. Even in death, Stan remains a teacher and an advocate: his cancer taught us about potential new obstacles to effective immune therapy and like Chuck Yeager, his legacy as “Patient Number 1” will undoubtedly inspire research efforts to overcome them. I will miss this remarkable man- rest in peace my friend.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

President's Message - August 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Since its creation in 1984, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) has steadfastly pursued its goals to advance the science and application of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other authorities around the world, have approved use of numerous immunotherapy treatments in recent years for a variety of cancers, education of the patient care team has become one of the most critical initiatives of our society.

To achieve its educational goals, SITC and its members have developed state-of-the-art programs, both online and in-person. An example of online resources is the SITC library of Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines. The most recent publication in this series contains clinical treatment recommendations for clinicians administering immunotherapy for patients with HNSCC and is published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) – our open access, peer-reviewed online journal. Congratulations to the SITC Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines Head and Neck Subcommittee for authoring this important consensus statement.

For in-person education, the Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy™ (ACI) regional programs have been particularly effective and popular. Approaching its seventh year, ACIs are held in 15 communities around North America each year, and include national and local experts on cancer immunotherapy across the disease spectrum. SITC will again offer the program free of charge for healthcare professionals in the clinical setting, students and patient advocates ACI programs provide:

  • In-depth information on treating patients with FDA-approved immunotherapies
  • Analysis and interpretation of new clinical data supporting the use of checkpoint inhibitors, CAR T therapies, cytokines, oncolytic viruses and vaccines
  • Education enabling clinicians and other health care personnel to more effectively identify and manage immune-related adverse events
  • Strategies to overcome operational and reimbursement barriers to incorporating immunotherapy into practice

I’ve served as an ACI faculty member myself, and seen first-hand SITC’s ability to draw from a vast network of scientific and clinical experts to provide an outstanding educational program. Attendees acquire a better understanding of current practices and known challenges to administering cancer immunotherapy treatments. All ACIs are CME-, CNE-, CPE- and MOC-certified, assisting clinicians in providing state of the art care to their patients.

Beginning in September and through March 2020, SITC will bring its ACI program to 15 cities around North America. Registration is currently open for Cleveland (Sept. 5), Chicago (Sept. 28), Boston (Oct. 10), Buffalo, N.Y. (Oct. 26) and Nashville, Tenn. (Dec. 4). Remaining cities that will host an ACI in the coming year include: Philadelphia; San Francisco; Birmingham, Ala.; Charlotte, N.C.; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; Tampa, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and San Antonio. Stay tuned to the SITC website for dates and registration information on upcoming ACIs.

Finally, I’d like to share a quick reminder that we are nearly a month out from SITC’s upcoming interim workshops on cancer immune responsiveness (Sept. 4-5) and adoptive cellular therapies (Sept. 5-6) in Houston. The deadline to save money on housing is Wednesday, Aug. 14, with online registration closing Wednesday, Aug. 28, so don’t hesitate in securing your spot for these engaging scientific and clinical workshops. I hope to see you in Texas!


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

President's Message - July 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Summer is already here, and our attention is increasingly focused on the 34th Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (SITC 2019), scheduled for Nov. 6-10, 2019. Organizers and staff have already put more than a year’s worth of planning and work into this meeting, and the pace of preparations will increase substantially over the next few months.

This year our meeting will return to the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. The venue has hosted many successful SITC programs and this fall will be no different. The Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs connects all of us in the cancer immunotherapy field, including established and leading academic and government investigators in basic, translational and clinical research, early career investigators, patient care providers, industry professionals, regulatory colleagues and patient advocates.

This summer, SITC is launching its all new Career Connections initiative to make it even easier to connect with each other in ways that could foster new, long-lasting professional relationships. This program will connect job seekers and talent seekers in the cancer immunotherapy field with an enhanced year-round online platform and new opportunities for in-person connections at SITC 2019. Stay tuned for more details about the Career Connections initiative in the next few weeks and months.

We’ve observed a surge in quantity and quality of abstract submissions to the SITC Annual Meeting in recent years as our field has grown and matured. One of our goals for the Annual Meeting over the last several years has been to increase opportunities for oral abstract presentations, in order to better recognize and share the work and to give more opportunities for oral abstract presentations to early career investigators. This year we are nearly doubling the number of oral abstract presentations over the previous year. For those considering submitting an abstract to SITC 2019, don’t forget the deadline to submit a regular abstract or late-breaking abstract application is Aug. 1, 2019, at 5 p.m. PDT.

We continue to develop collaborations with other professional societies and organizations. We owe this spirit of collaboration to several of our past presidents. The newest collaboration at our upcoming Annual Meeting, this time with the American Society of Hematology, is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, from 1-5 p.m. EDT, and will be co-chaired by Katy Rezvani, MD, PhD (The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center), and John M. Timmerman, MD (University of California, Los Angeles). This program will feature exciting presentations on the current state of research in hematologic malignancies.

We are continually adding new program, session and speaker information to the SITC 2019 itinerary. For the latest information regarding the SITC 2019 schedule and session information, please visit the SITC 2019 website today. Hotel rooms in National Harbor are limited and rapidly being reserved, so please don’t hesitate to confirm your registration today and secure your lodging in National Harbor.

Great scientific organizations are often associated with high quality journals publishing impactful, state of-the-art research. We are very proud to report that the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) increased its impact factor this year to 8.676. The impact factor places JITC in the top 3 percent of all fully open access oncology journals and ranks it in the top 8 percent of all journals published in the oncology and immunology categories. Congratulations to JITC Editor-in-Chief Pedro Romero, MD, the JITC Editorial Board, its vast collection of reviewers and SITC staff for hitting it out of the park again. Please consider submitting your best research to JITC or becoming a reviewer for the journal as we continue to grow its reputation and impact in oncology.

Finally, the 2019 SITC Election is fast approaching. Scheduled for July 10-24, 2019, SITC regular members and emeritus members will consider six candidates to fill three future openings for three-year terms as At-Large Directors on the SITC Board of Directors. Thank you to this year’s candidates who have offered their time and expertise to serve our Society.

Please visit the SITC website today to learn more about each of this year’s six candidates (or continue scrolling to view their names), including their biographies and positions statements. If you are not currently a SITC member, I hope you’ll consider joining SITC today.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

President's Message - June 2019

Dear Colleagues,

For 35 years, a primary purpose of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) – through its growth and multiple iterations – has been to bring together top scientists and clinicians in our field. SITC has served as the catalyst for these professionals to convene and share their latest research achievements, and through interaction and collaboration, to spur future advances and breakthroughs in the field.

Our organization was originally founded in 1984 by 40 charter members as the Society for Biological Therapy (SBT). In the past 35 years, much has changed, both in immuno-oncology and our society, including our name. SITC has grown with the field – eclipsing 2,400 members in 2018 – and remains at the forefront of scientific and clinical advances in cancer immunotherapy.

Beginning tomorrow, June 1, SITC will join our colleagues at the Cancer Research Institute to celebrate Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month™. During this month, we will bring attention to the many ways our society, through the contributions and dedication of its members, seeks to educate health care professionals and patients, and to enable research that will yield our field’s next breakthroughs. On our website and various social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook, SITC will feature a different program, resource or SITC initiative each day of the month. These activities are designed to create awareness of cancer immunotherapy and the depth and breadth of our society’s contributions to the field.

Also, on Friday, June 14, please join me in wearing white to honor and celebrate the work of the many researchers and clinicians in our field. Please consider purchasing a SITC Cure T-shirt, through a donation to the SITC Forward Fund, to wear on June 14, and then download our “Why I Wear White” flyer to share what drives your commitment to the cancer immunotherapy field. For me, every patient in my clinic who is alive today only because he or she received interleukin-2, or anti-PD-1 and or anti-CTLA-4, and every patient I see for whom these therapies were not enough to provide benefit, is another reminder of why I am committed to advancing these therapies in the clinic, and why I wear white on June 14. Take a selfie or group photo and tag SITC on social media to help us spread the word about cancer immunotherapy research.

As a final reminder, for those of you who will be in Chicago this weekend, please consider joining SITC at Buddy Guy’s Legends (700 S. Wabash Ave.) on Sunday, June 2, for the return to the stage of The CheckPoints, SITC’s house band. Doors open at 8 p.m. for The CheckPoints: Rockin' for a Cure, SITC’s annual fundraiser for the Forward Fund.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

President's Message - May 2019

Dear Colleagues,

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) hosts dozens of educational and scientific meetings each year to support the primary mission of the society, which is to improve cancer patient outcomes by advancing the science and application of cancer immunotherapy. In this letter I bring to your attention this year’s interim workshops, which provide a forum to address specific important and evolving areas in our field. The workshops will focus on cancer immune responsiveness and adoptive cellular therapies and will be organized by prominent members of the immuno-oncology community, including Alessandra Cesano, MD, PhD (NanoString Technologies, Inc.), Francesco M. Marincola, MD (Refuge Biotechnologies, Inc.), and Katayoun Rezvani, MD, PhD (The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center).

Both multi-day programs will bring together some of the foremost experts and future leaders in the science and clinical application of immune therapies. Participants will review current progress as the basis to initiate discussions of challenges and potential solutions to advance the field. The assembled researchers and clinicians usually produce a formal output from the meeting, often published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC), the society’s open access, peer-reviewed online journal.

On Sept. 4-5, 2019, in Houston, Texas, the SITC Cancer Immune Responsiveness Task Force will, for the second consecutive year, host a Cancer Immune Responsiveness Workshop. The focus on understanding cancer immune responsiveness is timely and critical for our field, and could lead to improved prognostic and predictive biomarkers, improved patient selection, more rational combination strategies in the clinic and more efficient clinical development of single agents and combinations. Didactic lectures and working groups will cover key topics such as the role of host genetics and epigenetics in immune responsiveness; transcription patterns indicative of distinct tumor immune landscapes; and more. Immediately following, on Sept. 5-6, 2019, SITC will host the Adoptive Cellular Therapies Workshop. The field of adoptive cell therapy is receiving increased attention from scientists, clinicians, patients, regulators and payors following the 2017 U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapies for patients with lymphoma and leukemia. This is, in my opinion, one of the most exciting and promising areas of clinical medicine, and this program will bring together experts to address the evolving science of cell engineering, novel strategies to improve the overall risk/benefit profile, clinical development, regulatory challenges and more.

Additionally, three collaborative sessions, taking place the morning of Sept. 5, will allow attendees from both workshops to discuss common challenges of the field and new concepts that impact cancer immune responsiveness and adoptive cellular therapies.

Please consider joining us for both programs over the course of three days. Participants who register for both workshops will receive a 30 percent discount.

Finally, for those attending the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago, I hope you consider joining me, the SITC staff and your fellow SITC colleagues and friends at SITC’s annual fundraiser for the Forward Fund, The CheckPoints Party. Come and party with the Checkpoints band (stars in the true sense of the word, including 2018 Nobel Laureate James P. Allison, PhD) beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, at Buddy Guy’s Legends (700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago).

VIP tickets are available online or by calling 414-271-2456. General admission at the door is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with suggested donation of $30. Proceeds support SITC’s Forward Fund, providing grant opportunities to promising early career scientists in the field. You can learn about some of the young investigators who have benefited from the SITC Forward Fund by viewing the Faces of the Forward Fund.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

President's Message - April 2019

Dear Colleagues,

I wish you all a happy spring. While I certainly do not hope for the next seven months to speed by, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s 34th Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (SITC 2019), to be held Nov. 6–10, will no doubt be here before we know it. Registration is already open for SITC members (and opens for all on April 9). This is our society’s cornerstone conference, and this year we return to the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. I am already excited to see and welcome back existing members and to meet the new members of our Society.

Last year, 5,000 professionals in the cancer immunotherapy field attended our Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs, a 36 percent increase over 2017. Similarly, we received nearly 800 abstract submissions, a 34 percent increase year-over-year. For me personally and I’m sure for all of us involved in the Society, it has been astounding to witness the growth of our annual gathering of basic scientists, translational researchers, clinicians, industry and governmental representatives and others in recent years.

This year, the Annual Meeting will feature several new oral abstract presentation opportunities. Increasing the number of oral presentations has been a key goal of our Board for several years, affording researchers, and in particular younger investigators, additional time to share the findings of their work and connect to others in the field. First is a Poster Symposium on Thursday, Nov. 7, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., which will comprise several short abstract presentations and expert discussants. Secondly, the number of rapid oral abstract sessions has doubled; two sessions will be held on Friday and two on Saturday. Half of these rapid oral abstract sessions will feature clinical advances in the field. Finally, three designated clinical trial sessions will ensure the conference captures the important clinical trial work being done in the field:
  • High Impact Clinical Trials: Friday, Nov. 8, 4:50-6:15 p.m.
  • Single Agent Phase 1 Clinical Trials: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:45-5 p.m.
  • Combination Phase 1-2 Clinical Trials: Saturday, Nov. 9, 5:15-6:30 p.m.
More than 16 months of planning and preparations go into each Annual Meeting. Dedicated committee members, lead by Annual Program Committee Chair Sandra Demaria, MD (Weill Cornell Medicine), and assisted by the Board of Directors and faculty, work tirelessly to ensure program schedules contain impactful data and meaningful panel discussions. It’s this devotion and enthusiasm that brings the highest quality data to the SITC’s Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs. For immune therapy of cancer, I believe it is the most influential conference in the field.

Please join me in congratulating our recently announced 2019 Richard V. Smalley, MD, Memorial Award and Lectureship recipient Olivera (Olja) J. Finn, PhD, of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Finn will deliver her highly anticipated keynote address during the Annual Meeting, on Friday, Nov. 8. I’m also very pleased to announce that Ronald N. Germain, MD, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health, will deliver Saturday’s keynote address.

Please remember that SITC members receive discounted SITC 2019 registration rates and early access to housing. There are so many reasons to become a SITC member, and the savings for attending just part of SITC 2019 will more than cover the cost of a membership. So don’t wait, join SITC today to save on your SITC 2019 attendance.

Although our Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs is our most highly attended program, we offer a variety of other opportunities for education and scientific exchange throughout the year, including interim workshops. Two exciting and timely 2019 workshops – dedicated to cancer immune responsiveness and adoptive cellular therapies – are scheduled for Sept. 4–6, 2019, in Houston, Texas, and registration is now open. Participants who attend both back-to-back workshops will receive a 30 percent discount on registration.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President