The Sentinel


Thursday, February 6, 2020

President's Message - February 2020

Dear Colleagues,

One of the most important priorities for SITC and for our field is to support and train early career investigators. In 2020, we are offering six SITC Fellowships and a new, unique award, totaling $600,000 in funding.

The six fellowships are possible thanks to the strong financial commitment of our industry partners. We are again able to honor the memory of one of our members, Holbrook Kohrt, MD, PhD, via the Cancer Immunotherapy Translational Memorial Fellowship. This year’s award is the third such fellowship in remembrance of Dr. Kohrt, an assistant professor at Stanford University, known for his commitment to discover and develop novel therapies to enhance anti-tumor immunity. You can read our society’s tribute and view photos from our 2016 dedication ceremony here. For a complete listing of the available 2020 SITC Fellowships, please click here or continue reading this edition of the Immune Monitor. Applications are now open and due by Feb. 28.

SITC will also offer an additional award opportunity, the SITC-NanoString Technologies Spatial Profiling Award. This new research award will be given to a young investigator who will leverage NanoString Technologies’ GeoMx™ Digital Spatial Profiler (DSP) to perform highly multiplexed spatial profiling of RNA and proteins. Click here to learn more and apply to this award (also with a Feb. 28 deadline).

In 2020, SITC will be holding its 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (Nov. 10–14 in National Harbor, Md.). As the field and our meeting has grown, so has the need for several more focused meetings throughout the year on key emerging areas of interest and importance. We’ve seen remarkable advances in tumor-targeted immunotherapy technology including CAR-T cells and antibody-drug conjugates and anticipate that identifying additional tumor-specific cell surface targets will further enable development of these types of agents. This year we will hold our first meeting on Interrogating the Tumor-Specific Surfaceome for Immune Targeting Workshop, taking place April 23–24 in San Diego (click here to register now). The tumor-specific surfaceome workshop will provide opportunities for investigators to present their research and will allow attendees to share their work with fellow experts in the field. Those whose abstracts are not selected for oral presentation will have the opportunity to present their work as a poster. Abstracts for this workshop are due by Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. PST. Click here to submit your abstract. Encore presentations are welcome!

Beyond the science, SITC will be expanding its efforts to promote professional development for its members. Following last year’s successful inaugural event, the society’s Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network (WIN) Leadership Institute returns this summer, and will grow to two programs, one in Seattle (July 13–14) and one in Chicago (Aug. 3–4). Women interested in applying to attend either program are invited to submit an application by March 9 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Finally, I would like to offer well-deserved congratulations to the SITC members, led by SITC Past President Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, for their recent manuscript, Defining Current Gaps in Quality Measures for Cancer Immunotherapy: Consensus Report from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) 2019 Quality Summit, as published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC). The article addresses optimal application of cancer immunotherapy for patient benefit, and serves as SITC’s initial formal effort to further define and standardize quality delivery of cancer immunotherapy. I look forward to our society’s continued work in this important area.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President