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

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