The Sentinel

THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE SOCIETY FOR IMMUNOTHERAPY OF CANCER (SITC).

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.

Sincerely,















Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President