The Sentinel


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