The Sentinel


Thursday, December 21, 2017

President's Message - December 2017

Dear Colleagues,

The past year has been one of significant scientific progress for the field of cancer immunotherapy and tumor immunology. Among the highlights:
  • Pembrolizumab received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for treating patients with MSI-H/dMMR-positive solid tumors, marking the first ever “tissue-agnostic” designation for any cancer therapeutic, defining disease based on biomarker status rather than tissue location
  • CAR T cell therapies obtained initial FDA approvals for treating both DLBCL and B-ALL following very positive clinical trial results
  • Cancer immunotherapies also continued to gain new indications by obtaining initial FDA approvals in hepatocellular carcinoma (nivolumab), Merkel Cell Carcinoma (avelumab), and gastric/GEJ cancers (pembrolizumab)
  • Multiple cancer immunotherapeutics including nivolumab, pembrolizumab, durvalumab, avelumab, and atezolizumab became options for treating patients with bladder cancer

As we look ahead to 2018, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) will continue to create opportunities for collaboration and scientific exchange for our growing membership base and beyond. Today, I’d like to single out two inter-connected workshops SITC has planned for May 2018 on biomarkers and cancer immune responsiveness.

Ten years after its inception, the SITC Immune Biomarkers Task Force will lead a two-day workshop to discuss critical next steps in biomarker science and assay development. Session topics will include best practices and validation; biomarker identification; data and specimen sharing and much more.

SITC’s newly-formed Cancer Immune Responsiveness Task Force will host a two-day workshop on topics that include tumor evolution in the immune competent host and the resulting immune landscape; identification of common pathways that should be targeted to understand and increase immunogenicity among silent or “cold” cancers and more.

The Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs – which will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. in 2018 due to continued growth and excitement – will always be our society’s hallmark event. SITC hosts interim programs throughout the year to provide focused opportunities to move new developments and initiatives forward for improving cancer patient outcomes through the advancement of science and clinical application of cancer immunotherapy.

Both of the workshops mentioned will be open to the public. Stay tuned to SITC in the New Year for additional event information, including dates and location.


Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Desmond Omane Acheampong, PhD, MSc, BSc


Name: Desmond Omane Acheampong, PhD, MSc, BSc

Title: Senior Lecturer

Employer: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana.

When and why did you become a SITC member?

I became a member of SITC on 20th July, 2017. My motivation was to get the opportunity to share and acquire knowledge with scientists with similar research focus.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Nils Rudqvist, PhD

Name: Nils Rudqvist

Title: PhD

Employer: Weill Cornell Medicine

When and why did you become a SITC member?

I became a SITC member in 2016 when I joined the laboratory of Sandra Demaria at Weill Cornell Medicine. My background is in radiation physics/biology, so immunology was quite new to me. One main reason for me to join SITC was to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to become a successful investigator in the field of immuno-oncology.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Aliyah Weinstein

Name: Aliyah Weinstein

Title: Graduate Student Researcher

Employer: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

When and why did you become a SITC member?

I’ve been a SITC member since this summer, though I previously attended some satellite events organized by the society. As I am thinking ahead to a career in the field of cancer immunotherapy, it only made sense to join SITC to establish a stronger connection with the field and grow my network.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Saman Maleki, PhD

Name: Saman Maleki, PhD

Title: Research Associate

Employer: Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada

When and why did you become a SITC member?

I become a SITC member last year after I found out about all the great educational work SITC has been doing on the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Can you briefly explain the work you are doing in the field?

I am involved in several translational immunotherapy projects. We are studying the neoantigens in tumors and how it shapes the anti-tumor immune response. We are also studying indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and its effect on immunotherapy and conventional therapy. I am also involved in pre-clinical IND-enabling studies of several novel oncology drugs including a few immuno-oncology agents.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Christian Hyde, MD

Name: Christian Hyde, MD

Title: Radiation Oncologist, Diplomate of the American Board of Radiology

Employer: Cancer Treatment Centers of America, in the Southeastern Region

When and why did you become a SITC member?

I joined SITC a few years ago due to a long-standing interest in immunity. One of my earliest experiences with my immune system was at age 12 during a Boy Scout project in Utah clearing trails through the woods. I was exposed to poison oak, causing a mild rash on my legs and arms. When we went back a few weeks later, I volunteered to take care of all the poison oak bushes, thinking my prior exposure had inoculated me against it. I was dead wrong. A few days later I was in the doctor’s office with my face swollen up like a balloon and weepy sores all over my body. I had to take a cortisol injection to turn down my T-cell immune response which was attacking the poison oak antigens on my skin and even attacking areas where I wasn’t directly exposed. Needless to say, I learned a lot that day about the power of the immune system and how little I understood it, and that not all exposures are protective – in fact they can rev up the immune response. We see that with cancer immunotherapy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Alexandra Cadena

Name: Alexandra Cadena

Title: Research Intern

Employer: MD Anderson Cancer Center

When and why did you become a SITC member?

I became a SITC member about two years ago when I was a college student interning over the summer in the Experimental Rad Onc. Department at MD Anderson. My PI at the time encouraged me to submit an abstract to SITC on a retrospective study I did correlating tumor growth kinetics with response to immunotherapy. My abstract got accepted and I poster presented at National Harbor in 2015. After that experience, I truly fell in love with the SITC community and saw the field of immuno-oncology (IO) as the solution to shifting the scientific paradigm. What I most enjoy about being a SITC member is the diversity of talent the group draws from. I think they have really found an amazing balance of bringing all voices, from all different disciplines to the table to discuss advances in cancer immunotherapy. I find this refreshing in a world that constantly seeks to compartmentalizes and subspecialize what we know.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Praveen Bommareddy

(Editor's Note: The Sentinel, the official blog of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, will provide SITC Members a digital space to share their expertise and experience being in or around the field of cancer immunotherapy. To introduce these member authors to readers of The Sentinel, SITC will be publishing Q&As in the coming days.)

 Praveen K Bommareddy   
Title: PhD candidate

Employer: Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

When and why did you become a SITC member?

I became a SITC member in August 2016. I believe SITC is a great platform to get connected to many colleagues in the field of Cancer Immunotherapy and to be updated with the most recent advancements in cancer immunotherapy.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Otto F. Sankey, PhD

(Editor's Note: The Sentinel, the official blog of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, will provide SITC Members a digital space to share their expertise and experience being in or around the field of cancer immunotherapy. To introduce these member authors to readers of The Sentinel, SITC will be publishing Q&As in the coming days.)

Name: Otto F. Sankey, PhD
Dr. Sankey

Title: Regents’ Professor of Physics

Employer: Emeritus, Arizona State University, Tempe AZ

When and why did you become a SITC member? 

I've been a member for 2 years as a prostate cancer advocate. There are no known cures for metastatic prostate cancer and immunotherapy has the potential for a cure.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

SITC 2017 Scientific Highlights - Nov. 11

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is pleased to present highlights from the Saturday programs (Nov. 11, 2017) of the 32nd Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Md. (Scroll to the bottom of this blog post to view the Glossary).

Dendritic cell acquisition of MHC I controls CD8+ T cell priming

Brandon MacNabb, BS (University of Chicago) presented data supporting the concept of MHC I antigen presentation by Batf3-lineage DCs as a critical component of CD8+-mediated anti-tumor response. Researchers initially generated H2-KbAB (MHC I+) and Kb-/-(MHC I-) C1498.SIY acute myeloid leukemia cell lines and subsequently engrafted C57BL/6 mice to determine the contribution of tumor cell MHC I presentation in CD8+ T cell priming. Initial assessment revealed reduced tumor growth in C1498.SIY KbAB mice compared to C1498.SIY Kb-/- mice. CD8+ T cell proliferation was also increased in KbAB mice compared to Kb-/- mice (p < 0.05). The observed C1498.SIY KbAB-dependent CD8+ proliferation was abolished in Batf3-/- C57BL/6 mice (p < 0.01). IFN-ϒ secretion was also decreased in Batf3-/- KbAB mice, suggesting that Batf3 initiates CD8+ priming. Transfer of autologous T cells from KbAB tumor-bearing mice offered complete protection from tumor growth in tumor-free mice. Conversely, autologous T cells from Kb-/- mice offered no such protection. Interestingly, DCs isolated from the TME and the tumor-draining lymph node in tumor-positive mice had increased KbAB MHC I expression (p < 0.001), suggesting DC acquisition of tumor-derived MHC I. Ex vivo experiments confirmed that migratory KbAB DCs are capable of CD8+ priming. These data reveal the importance of Batf3-lineage DCs and tumor-derived MHC I presentation in CD8+ T cell activation of anti-tumor response, providing insight into potential development of DC-oriented therapies. 

On Tap at SITC 2017 - Nov. 12

On Tap Today

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is very happy to welcome our delegates for one more day of scientific exchange at the 32nd Annual Meeting.

Here's a look at what's on tap for today, and continue scrolling to learn about exciting news for the society in 2018.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

SITC 2017 Scientific Highlights - Nov. 10

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is pleased to present highlights from the first day of the 32nd Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Md. (Scroll to the bottom of this blog post to view the Glossary)

Co-administration of novel anti-sMIC antibody increases anti-CTLA-4 therapeutic response in TRAMP/MIC mice (O22)

Jennifer Wu, PhD (Northwestern University, Chicago, IL) presented recently-published data investigating the efficacy of a novel antibody targeting the highly immunosuppressive human activation immune receptor natural killer group 2D (NKG2D) ligand, sMIC, with the goal of increasing anti-CTLA-4 therapeutic response. Using a TRAMP (transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate)/MIC mouse model, Wu’s group found that mice with increased circulation of tumor-derived sMIC receiving anti-CTLA-4 had ~25% decrease in survival over 8 weeks compared to mice receiving placebo (p < 0.05), as well as an increased risk of immune-related colitis. TRAMP/MIC mice receiving anti-CTLA-4 in combination with anti-sMIC had reduced prostate tumor burden (~0.25g vs ~6g, respectively; p < 0.001), increased DC activation, enhanced TCR/CD3 signaling, and increased T cell clonality in tumor infiltrates compared to mice receiving anti-CTLA-4 alone (P < 0.05). CR was observed in 4/5 combination-treated mice for at least 120 days post-therapy, with no cases of immune-related colitis. These pre-clinical anti-sMIC/anti-CTLA-4 data align with clinical observations in patients with mCRPC, melanoma and multiple myeloma who have demonstrated improved responses to anti-CTLA-4 therapy if they develop sMIC autoantibodies during the course of treatment. These results suggest that sMIC may act as a predictive biomarker for anti-CTLA-4 response. Furthermore, including anti-sMIC antibodies in CTLA-4-targeted therapies may reduce irAES and increase treatment efficacy.

On Tap at SITC 2017 - Nov. 11

On Tap Today

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is pleased to host our delegates this week in National Harbor, Md. at the 32nd Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs. Excitement continues as we look forward to toward another incredible day of scientific presentations at the Annual Meeting.

Here's a look at what's on tap for today.

Friday, November 10, 2017

On Tap at SITC 2017 - Nov. 10

On Tap Today

The wait is over! The 32nd Annual Meeting (SITC 2017) kicks off this morning. On-site registration and badge pickup opens at 7 a.m. for those who are joining us for the first time this week, with a breakfast also available before sessions begin at 8 a.m.

SITC 2017 is the first Annual Meeting for Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD, as President of the society. Dr. Butterfield had served as Vice President of SITC the past two years before becoming the first female President of SITC in its history following last year's Annual Meeting.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

On Tap at SITC 2017 - Nov. 9

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) welcomes delegates joining us for the first time in National Harbor, Md. today. We have a full slate of programming reaching to all backgrounds and experience levels.

On Tap Today

Thursday's concurrent Pre-Conference Programs provide clinicians and researchers educational programming on the basics of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy, single cell techniques in immunology and grant writing support for early career scientists.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

On Tap at SITC 2017 - Nov. 8, 2017

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is pleased to welcome our delegates to the 32nd Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs! We are thankful for the throngs of member leaders and faculty who dedicated so many hours to ensure the SITC Annual Meeting continues being the premier destination for research in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

On Tap Today

Wednesday kicks off the week's proceedings with the first day of Pre-Conference Programs. Once attendees complete registration to pick up badges and materials, they'll be joining the following sessions:

Immuno-Oncology Biomarkers: Today’s Imperatives for Tomorrow’s Needs

8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. / Cherry Blossom Ballroom

The SITC Industry Committee has developed a Biomarkers Fair to allow companies and interested academic investigators to present their latest technology. This forum will provide the opportunity for presentation of multiple biomarker development efforts by all sectors and stimulate interactions between biomarker diagnostic innovators with each other and with end-users.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Access SITC 2017 Abstracts

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) received a record-breaking number of abstracts in 2017 for its Annual Meeting, marking a 21 percent increase in submissions compared to last year. To fulfill the society’s commitment to featuring cutting-edge science, two abstract submission periods allowed the latest research to be incorporated into the 32nd Annual Meeting. Researchers submitted more than 560 regular abstracts, and an additional 30 late-breaking abstracts were received from investigators whose studies made key data cuts after Aug. 1.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

Welcome to The Sentinel, SITC’s New Official Blog

On behalf of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), I am pleased to introduce to you The Sentinel, our new official blog.

It has long been a goal of SITC’s to provide a space online for members to network and share their wealth of knowledge with the greater cancer immunotherapy community on everything from the basic science to the biggest challenges facing our field.

Friday, October 27, 2017

President's Message - October 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I invite you to join the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) for our most anticipated event of the year, the 32nd Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs from Nov. 8-12 in National Harbor, Md. As the largest conference dedicated to the field of cancer immunotherapy, the society has assembled an incredible roster of experts, offering researchers, clinicians, industry professionals and patient advocates the opportunity to hear the latest scientific findings in the most exciting area of cancer research and treatment.

Pre-Conference Programs: Nov. 8-9

The Pre-Conference Programs provide opportunities for attendees of all experience levels to learn the basics of cancer immunotherapy, explore updates on biomarkers and single cell techniques as they relate to our field, develop grant writing skills, and network. SITC will offer the following programs as a precursor to our Annual Meeting:

32nd Annual Meeting: Nov. 10-12

Featuring three days of cutting-edge presentations attendees have come to expect from the society, the SITC 2017 Annual Meeting provides a multidisciplinary interactive environment focused on basic and translational cancer immunotherapy. Programming will be kicked off with highly anticipated keynote speeches. On Nov. 10, Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD will speak on “The CAR T Revolution in Leukemia.” The following day, Paul Sondel, MD, PhD, and the 2017 Richard V. Smalley, MD Memorial Award and Lectureship recipient, will deliver his speech on "Activation of Innate and Adaptive Immunity as an In Situ Cancer Vaccine.”

Also, do not miss this year’s Hot Topic Symposium, which closes out proceedings on Nov. 12. The Symposium, Advancing the Field: Can Physics and Mathematics Impact the Development of Tumor Immunotherapy?, will bring together leading authorities in tumor immunology, physics and mathematics to offer an overview of the top priorities in tumor immunotherapy and the latest advances in physical science that might impact further biologic understanding and therapeutic approaches for the field.

Social and Networking Activities

Be sure to attend the social and networking activities provided by SITC. These include activities for early career scientists, such as the Meet-the-Expert Lunch on Nov. 9 and evening networking event on Nov. 10. The poster receptions will take place in Prince George’s Exhibition Hall DE from 6:30 – 8 p.m. on Nov. 10-11. Also, plan to attend the State of SITC: Membership Business Meeting on Nov. 10, and the SITC 2017 Award Ceremony with receptions after presentations. And last, but certainly not least, don’t miss The CheckPoints, SITC’s very own house band the evening of Nov. 11.
I look forward to seeing many of you in National Harbor. For those unable to attend the conference, meeting updates, videos and slide decks will be posted on SITC Cancer Immunotherapy connectED, and meeting summaries will be published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.

Best Wishes,

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Thursday, September 28, 2017

President's Message - September 2017

Dear Colleagues,

On Aug. 30, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tisagenlecleucel, a chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) therapy directed against CD19, for certain pediatric and young adult patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). As the first gene therapy to receive FDA approval, this is a major breakthrough and represents the culmination of years of work from researchers and clinicians in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Through educational opportunities and the promotion of collaboration among clinicians and scientists from around the world, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) serves as a driving force behind recent progress in cellular therapies. For example, abstract presentations and informational sessions highlighting the latest research on tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, gene transfer technology and adoptive cellular therapies have been a mainstay in our meetings for years.

Key leaders in the field – including Carl June, MD; Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD; and Michel Sadelain, MD – have used the platform of the SITC Annual Meeting to present their research. Dedicated sessions have covered topics addressing issues spanning basic science and clinical aspects of immune cell-based therapy, including: the engineering of signaling constructs and of vectors to increase the efficiency of gene transfer; the identification of target cells; optimization of culture growth factors, ways to detect the presence of cells and their longevity in vivo; as well as regulatory aspects of utilizing cellular therapies in the clinic.

Building on the excitement of the recent FDA approval, Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD will deliver a highly anticipated keynote address on the CAR T revolution in leukemia at the SITC 2017 Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Md. In addition, the final day of the program will feature a session on “Genetically Modified Cell Therapy” co-chaired by Carl H. June, MD; Marcela V. Maus, MD, PhD; and Helen E. Heslop, MD.

There is still so much more to come for our field. We look forward to seeing you all at SITC 2017 to learn about the next exciting breakthroughs in the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy.

Best Wishes,

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Thursday, August 31, 2017

President's Message - August 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As the summer months progress, I am pleased to update you all about a number of activities the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is undertaking to accelerate our commitment to supporting the next generation of young investigators, increasing funding for basic science, and in the process, creating a Washington, D.C. presence for the society.

Several SITC leaders and a patient advocates joined me as we partnered with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to co-host a congressional briefing on July 19, 2017. The presentation, “Progress in Immunotherapy: Delivering Hope and Clinical Benefit to Cancer Patients” was the first ever congressional briefing dedicated to cancer immunotherapy. The presentation focused on building upon the successes of cancer immunotherapy, addressing the critical concerns facing our research, outlining ways to continue progress through increasing overall participation, and diversity in clinical trials. The importance of ongoing research was discussed, as well as the consequences of the proposed 20 percent cut in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding on our efforts. SITC has retained the services of Cornerstone Government Affairs, LLC, with Erik Fatemi serving as consultant, to assist SITC with specific policy related activities, focusing on increasing funding for immunotherapy, and raising awareness about SITC’s activities and contributions.

To further support the policy and advocacy efforts, Jacqueline Smith has joined SITC and will serve as Policy and Advocacy Manager in Washington, D.C. In addition to having worked for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jacqueline has advanced degrees with an emphasis on policy and oncology, and is a two-time stage III melanoma survivor who participated in the 2008 Schering-Plough PEG-Intron trial. Her current status of no evidence of disease, now many years since treatment, confirms that immunotherapy indeed saves lives. Please join me in welcoming Jacqueline to the SITC team.

And lastly, SITC held a bipartisan congressional visit with key staffers in D.C. on August 17, 2017. I was joined by Executive Director Tara Withington, Jacqueline Smith and Erik Fatemi as we discussed the positive impact National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding has had on research advancements in the field of cancer immunotherapy and how SITC can support future efforts. Stay tuned…and thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Thursday, July 27, 2017

President's Message - July 2017

Dear Colleagues,

One of the pillars of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) Strategic Plan is to “advance the science globally.” For more than 31 years, SITC has collaborated with international partners to further the field and application of cancer immunotherapy worldwide.

See what SITC has been up to around the globe:

SITC Members and International Advisory Committee
SITC recently formed the International Advisory Committee charged with building relationships with international cancer immunotherapy organizations, with the aim of providing collaborative international SITC educational activities to further stimulate immunotherapy research and global membership.

International Educational Collaborations
Already in 2017, SITC has reached more than 1,900 people internationally through collaborative educational programs. SITC continues to play an important role as the educational partner in the Immunotherapy of Cancer Conference (ITOC) series, which was presented by the Cancer Drug Development Forum (CDDF).

World Immunotherapy Council
SITC and the World Immunotherapy Council (WIC) will host the 2nd World Immunotherapy Council Young Investigator Symposium during SITC’s 32nd Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs on Nov. 8, 2017. The program will provide the opportunity for young scientists and future leaders throughout the world to engage in scientific exchange to facilitate development and global dissemination of cancer immunotherapies. Learn more.

SITC Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT and SITC Cancer Immunotherapy connectED
SITC bridges geographical distances through technology and develops targeted education to advance cancer immunotherapy. Through SITC CONNECT and SITC connectED, users around the world access the latest news, research and conversation through a community platform centered on cancer immunotherapy.

SITC Collaborations and Partnerships
Collaboration has been integral to SITC’s success as the source and resource for all things related to cancer immunotherapy. SITC works with global partners to further the field worldwide. Learn more.
Journal of ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

The Journal of ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) is an exceptional international journal exemplified by its 40 international editors and high global readership. Nearly half of the monthly visitors to JITC are from outside the U.S. Learn more.

SITC will continue to work with and address the concerns of our international members and collaborators around the globe to drive the field of cancer immunotherapy into the future. Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Thursday, June 29, 2017

President's Message - June 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As those who attended the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 2017 Annual Meeting earlier this month can attest, the field of cancer immunotherapy continues to explode, with more than 80 immunotherapy educational sessions and abstract presentations over five days, and many poster presentations. Cancer immunotherapy has emerged as a clinically beneficial option for many patients.

For more than 33 years, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) has been the leader in cancer immunotherapy – long before the world would see the impact this treatment modality has made in the fight against cancer. The society’s Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (SITC 2017) is the largest meeting dedicated solely to the field. This premier conference brings together leading cancer immunotherapy experts from around the world. SITC 2017 promises unparalleled cutting-edge research and networking opportunities. Register today for SITC 2017, scheduled on Nov. 8-12.   You can look forward to five days of state of the science presentations at the SITC annual meeting this fall, where each presentation and poster revolves around cancer immunotherapy.

SITC has always strongly supported the growth and development of young investigators, as the future of cancer immunotherapy is rooted in research and education. Take a look at these opportunities designed to ensure that talented, innovative professionals continue to be attracted to careers in this treatment modality.

Get involved and share these opportunities with a young investigator in your network.
Cancer immunotherapy saves lives and is forever changing what it means to have cancer. Early career scientists provide critical support in the research and innovation in this evolving field.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Thursday, May 25, 2017

President's Message - May 2017

Dear Colleagues,

In recognition of June as Cancer Immunotherapy Month organized by our colleagues at the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) celebrates the numerous advances and positive steps taken in moving the field forward. We applaud all of the researchers, practitioners and advocates who have demonstrated an unwavering devotion to improving outcomes for cancer patients worldwide.

While there is still much work to be done, I invite you to celebrate with SITC in Chicago and join us for events surrounding the ASCO Annual Meeting:
Another event taking place next month is White Out Cancer Day on June 16. We ask those of you who have a SITC Cure t-shirt to take a selfie and tweet at the society (@sitcancer) using the official hashtag #WearWhite or email the photo to Show your support on the specific day, or any day during June. If you do not yet own a Cure t-shirt, you can order one here.

As the field continues to grow and expand, a major priority of the society is to support and help develop the next generation of leaders. If you are an early career scientist looking for a unique and amazing new team-based research (and business development) opportunity to help the field, apply now to the SITC Sparkathon. Participants will meet on Aug. 28-29, for a two-day retreat in a “Technology Hackathon” meets “Shark Tank” format to explore the hurdles and challenges facing the field of cancer immunotherapy. Applications are accepted until June 16, so apply soon.

Finally, the society is excited to publish its first textbook, Cancer Immunotherapy Principles and Practice. The SITC textbook, an authoritative reference presenting the history, supporting science and mechanisms as well as the current state of cancer immunotherapy, is now available for pre-order. SITC members are eligible to receive up to a 25 percent discount and free shipping. Login to your SITC CONNECT account for more details including the promo code, or stop by SITC’s exhibit booth #2015 while in Chicago.

Thank you for your continued support of the cancer immunotherapy field.

Best wishes,

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Thursday, April 27, 2017

President's Message - April 2017

 Dear Colleagues,

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) on Monday, May 1 will launch SITC Cancer Immunotherapy connectED, its new online education tool for the greater cancer immunotherapy field. This education portal, part of SITC Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT, provides educational resources and activities regarding current advances in cancer immunotherapy organized by stakeholder groups (patients, clinicians and researchers).

With the recent explosion of information related to cancer immunotherapy, there is a critical need for an unbiased educational resource destination where everyone can find the information they need, when they need it. SITC connectED will shape how we learn about cancer immunotherapy.

Utilizing a personalized learning system, SITC connectED identifies and delivers resources customized to each individual user. This portal highlights recent advances in the cancer immunotherapy field by providing educational activities using content from SITC and partner educational programs. SITC connectED bridges knowledge gaps by providing online educational opportunities in a convenient and easy to use platform.

Through SITC connectED, clinicians and patients can stay up-to-date on the most novel clinical applications of immunotherapy. Educational materials from live events will also be featured, allowing users to stay at the forefront of research in the immunotherapy field.

SITC connectED provides opportunities for medical professionals to earn continuing education credits (CME, CNE and CPE) and apply new concepts to clinical scenarios through engaging practice activities. Users will be able to utilize robust communication tools to share and collaborate with others in SITC CONNECT communities.

SITC connectED curates a variety of learning activities, including online classes, videos and webinars from world-renowned leaders in the field of cancer immunotherapy. This education portal will also provide opportunities for patients, caregivers and advocates to learn new information about the use of cancer immunotherapy to treat specific disease states.

Watch for an email on Monday providing a link to SITC connectED. I implore you all to experience this innovative learning portal.

Best wishes,

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

President's Message – March 2017

As I write this message on International Women’s Day, I am honored to contribute to the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) as its first female President, hopefully paving the way for future women in science to do the same. Choosing a career in science has been extremely rewarding, especially as a Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute where women routinely serve as department chairs, program leaders and SPORE PIs.

My career path has not been without challenges – as my female colleagues would agree – navigating a male dominated field can be challenging at times. However, as more women progress through the field, there are more mentors from whom to learn, more formal leadership training sessions and more flexible work environments and tenure clocks. Observing a woman in a leadership position of any type sends a powerful message to women everywhere – next time it could be you.

As we all continue to move the field forward with our unique skills and talents, I encourage you to visit SITC's 32ndAnnual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (November 8-12, 2017) microsite which is now live for society members to register and secure housing. In addition, the call for abstracts period is now open for everyone. This is a great opportunity to showcase your latest research at the largest conference solely focused on cancer immunotherapy. It is going to be another outstanding meeting!

Finally, SITC’s Call for Comment on the “Consensus Statement on Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Bladder Carcinoma.” In line with other publications in SITC’s Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines series, this Consensus Statement was developed by experts in the field and provides key indicators to help practicing oncologists determine when and how to use immunotherapy when treating patients with bladder cancer. Specifically, these guidelines focus on selecting patients for treatment, managing toxicities, determining clinical endpoints and guiding appropriate sequencing or combination of therapies in the setting of bladder cancer. We welcome participation from SITC members in the development of these guidelines. Provide your feedback on this important SITC initiative before the Open Comment period ends at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 20, 2017.



Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

President's Message – February 2017

Dear Colleagues,
We have seen tremendous progress in the field of cancer immunotherapy in recent years, and the potential exists to improve the benefits obtained with monotherapy by combining drugs with complementary mechanisms of action. Well over 500 trials of immune-based combination therapies are underway; coupled with increasing opportunities for collaboration between the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, government and academia, the field is at an exciting juncture where the potential for improved therapeutic options has never been greater.
To this end, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) Combination Immunotherapies Task Force has just published a white paper entitled; “Combination immunotherapy: a road map”, in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer. Building on previous work in this area, the article explores the most important hypothesis-driven prospects for combination therapies. Going beyond this, however, it addresses the applicability of mouse models for drug testing; safety considerations in early clinical testing; the need for innovative, flexible early phase clinical trial designs; and appropriate safety and efficacy endpoints for early phase clinical trials, all specifically in the setting of combination immunotherapy. With greater understanding of these agents’ mechanisms of action – and of the counter-defense mounted by tumors – we anticipate novel combinations will increase the number of patients who respond to immunotherapy, the tolerability of treatments, and the duration of treatment response.
The field took a big step forward with the FDA’s recent approval of nivolumab for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma following progression on a platinum-containing chemotherapy. Nivolumab is the second immunotherapy (and first PD-1 targeted agent) approved in this setting and provides another much needed option for patients with advanced disease. In light of this recent progress and the growing number of drug approvals, SITC is developing a Cancer Immunotherapy Guideline for bladder cancer to meet the growing demand for expert advice on the optimal use of immunotherapy in this setting. Please watch for an announcement in the coming weeks for a Call for Comment on the manuscript. We encourage all SITC members to take advantage of the opportunity to provide feedback on this important guidelines document.
Finally, with regard to recent events, SITC is committed to ensuring our members and stakeholders from all over the world are able to participate in our scientific exchange and networking opportunities, access our educational meetings and resources, and participate in work that all moves the cancer immunotherapy field forward. We will continue to monitor events closely and support our members.
On behalf of the society, thank you for your support of SITC and your efforts for the cancer immunotherapy field.

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD
SITC President

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

President's Message – January 2017

Dear Colleagues,
Connect-IM.jpgThe Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) unveiled our new website, Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT, Powered by SITC this month. Featuring a robust online community platform that directly connects stakeholders of the cancer immunotherapy field in ways never before achieved, Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT is the premier online hub.
Through Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT, users can access a vast array of cancer immunotherapy-related resources via a unified online community, improving communication and furnishing valuable information about the exploding field. SITC members are now enrolled in the Open Forum community. Visit the site at, sign in using your current credentials, create your profile, connect with colleagues, join the conversation in the community, and exchange scientific information with experts through the SITC Resource Library. Open Forum members receive a Daily Digest capturing the community’s activity so you can stay informed if you have not checked in for a while.
For those of you who are not SITC members, we encourage you to join. However, nonmembers are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the Open Forum community. Simply create a profile and join the conversation. Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT is the source and resource for all things cancer immunotherapy related.
Coming this spring to Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT is connectED, SITC's new educational community that will connect users to live and online educational offerings with continuing education activities. ConnectED will utilize an adaptive educational environment that will become the go-to learning portal for patients, practitioners and researchers seeking personally curated activities and resources focusing solely on cancer immunotherapy.
In closing, this type of comprehensive community dedicated to cancer immunotherapy that brings patients and the cancer care team together does not currently exist. SITC is thrilled to offer this open-access and free expansive resource to all. Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT and connectED will shape the future of cancer immunotherapy research.

Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD
SITC President