The Sentinel


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

President's Message - July 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As I hope many of you saw recently, SITC announced its intentions to transition the upcoming 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (SITC 2020) on Nov. 10–15, 2020, from an in-person conference to a fully virtual event. The decision, made with the full support of the SITC Executive Committee and Annual Meeting organizers, will allow our society to convene safely amid the global coronavirus pandemic while sharing and celebrating the continued progress achieved in the cancer immunotherapy field.

SITC 2020 reimagined as a fully virtual experience will ensure the health and safety of our participants and their patients while providing new, unique opportunities to connect with an expanded global audience. In celebration of our society’s 35th anniversary, we are excited to offer free SITC 2020 registration to all SITC members. Online registration for SITC 2020 reimagined will open in the coming weeks. Join the SITC family or renew your membership today to ensure your eligibility for free SITC 2020 participation. Stay tuned for much more in the coming weeks as we announce new and exciting features of SITC 2020 reimagined as a virtual event.

While the coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected our lives, professionally and personally, it is vital we continue the mission of our great society to improve cancer patient outcomes by advancing the science, development and application of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. One of the means by which SITC strives to achieve this mission is through programs that provide funding and recognize the scientific achievements of our field’s early career scientists. The pandemic has undoubtedly impacted funding for young investigators, and thus, such continued support from SITC is more important than ever. In June, we recognized a record-breaking number of early career scientists as recipients of our society’s 2020 Postdoctoral Cancer Immunotherapy Fellowships and Award.

Thanks to the continued and generous support of our industry partners—Amgen, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Bristol Myers Squibb, Genentech, Inc. and Merck—SITC was able to award six early career scientists with fellowships, totaling $600,000 in one- and two-year awards. In a new collaboration with NanoString Technologies, SITC was also able to offer an award providing access to the company’s spatial profiling technology to further research.
I would like to congratulate this year’s recipients of the 2020 Postdoctoral Cancer Immunotherapy Fellowships and Award:

  • SITC-Merck Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Fellowship: Joseph Clara, MD – National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • SITC-AstraZeneca Immunotherapy in Lung Cancer Clinical Fellowship: Jacob Kaufman, MD, PhD – Duke University Medical Center
  • SITC-Amgen Cancer Immunotherapy in Hematologic Malignancies Fellowship: Suman Paul, MBBS, PhD – Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • SITC-Bristol Myers Squibb Postdoctoral Cancer Immunotherapy Translational Fellowship: Li Qiang, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
  • SITC-NanoString Technologies Spatial Profiling Award: Todd Triplett, PhD – University of Texas Dell Medical School
  • SITC-Genentech Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Fellowship: Natalie Vokes, MD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • SITC's Holbrook Kohrt, MD, PhD Cancer Immunotherapy Translational Memorial Fellowship (Sponsored by Genentech): Kipp Weiskopf, MD, PhD – Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research 

To learn more about these individuals and their research, please visit our website. Thank you to all of this year’s SITC Fellowships and Award applicants and sponsors! Please look for a host of new funding opportunities in January.

I would also like to congratulate the 2020 National Cancer Institute (NCI) Immunotherapy Fellowship recipient, John Shin, MD, from Mayo Clinic Rochester. Dr. Shin will be exposed to multiple clinical immunotherapeutic approaches and key opinion leaders in the field of cancer immunotherapy at NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. The NCI Immunotherapy Fellowship is co-sponsored by the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and SITC and made possible in part by an educational grant from EMD Serono.

SITC will honor this year’s awardees, along with many other young investigators, during our awards ceremony at the 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting. We will also recognize an additional 35 early career scientists as part of our society’s Young Investigator Awards. These accolades, which include the highly coveted Presidential Award, reward excellence in SITC Annual Meeting oral abstract and poster presentations. We are also eager to recognize the numerous basic scientists, translational researchers and clinicians working to improve cancer patient outcomes.

As a reminder, regular abstractsYoung Investigator Award abstractslate-breaking abstracts and Immunotherapy Resistance and Failure Pre-Conference Program presentation applications are due by 5 p.m. PDT on Friday, July 31. For a complete listing of SITC 2020 abstract categories, which now includes research on COVID-19 and immunotherapy, please click here.
Finally, I would like to share proudly that the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) increased its Impact Factor this year to 9.913. This Impact Factor makes JITC the highest ranked fully open access immunology journal and places JITC in top 8 percent of all journals published in the oncology and immunology categories. Congratulations to JITC Editor-in-Chief Pedro Romero, MD, the JITC Editorial Board, its vast collection of reviewers and staff for this honor.

Please consider submitting your research to JITC or becoming a reviewer as the journal furthers its mark as a respected source for research in oncology.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President

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