The Sentinel


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Letter From the Editor- December

Dear JITC Readers,

Welcome to the final JITC digest of 2020. You are likely reading this email within a few days of the winter solstice—the shortest day of the year. Although 2020 has been a highly challenging year with some dark and difficult times, it is reassuring to know that each passing day will come with a little more light. 
Although the term has by now become cliché, we are indeed living in unprecedented times. Yet looking back upon 2020, some bright spots emerge from the dark and challenging circumstances in which we have been living. The society’s various task forces and working groups published several impactful papers, one of which, by Brian Gastman and colleagues on the SITC Surgery Committee, appears in this month’s issue. SITC also successfully carried out its first ever all-virtual annual meeting, and it was an amazing opportunity to reconnect with colleagues from all over and experience the very best in immunotherapy research (even if our interactions were through videochat windows). 
Additionally, JITC increased its impact factor to 10.252 in 2020, making it the highest ranked fully open access immunology journal and in the top 7 percent of all journals published in the oncology and immunology categories. I’m so grateful to you, our JITC readers, for your constant support of the journal, as well as the tireless efforts of all of our editors and peer reviewers. Thank you all so much for helping to make JITC the field-leading journal that it is today.
The articles in this month’s JITC digest are exemplary of why the journal continues on an upwards trajectory of success. Not only are the highlighted studies well-designed and tightly controlled, but the results forecast important trends for the future of the immunotherapy field. 
Two unique angles on therapeutic vaccination are provided by Juliane Schuhmacher et al and Iuliia Efimova et al, demonstrating that synthetic long peptides and cells dying an iron-dependent death, respectively, may offer advantages for the development of anti-tumor immunity. 
Combination regimens including multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitors and checkpoint blockade are the subject of reports by Javier Martin-Broto et al and Kohei Shigeta et al, further establishing the importance of angiogenesis in immune exclusion and demonstrating that combination strategies could expand the number of tumor types susceptible to PD-(L)1-targeting therapies. 
Finally, Diana Canals Hernaez and colleagues provide proof of concept that antibodies specific to tumor-restricted glycans can be developed and that they can specifically kill cancer cells when conjugated to toxic payloads.
I hope you enjoy this month’s JITC digest, and I wish a sincere and heartfelt happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year!

Pedro J. Romero, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

To view the entire September 2020 JITC Digest, please click here

Thursday, December 10, 2020

President's Message - December 2020

 Dear Colleagues,

I would like to open this month’s message, my last as SITC President, with a warm thank you to all of the attendees, supporters, organizers, faculty, staff and other volunteers who helped make our society’s 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (SITC 2020) a record breaking success. More than 5,200 professionals in the cancer research community gathered virtually from Nov. 9–14 to present and hear the latest data in the lab and advances achieved in the clinic in immunotherapy. 

While we were unable to share and celebrate the latest advances in our field in person – more individuals attended SITC 2020 than any other society program in our history. A fitting milestone as we marked 35 years of SITC contributions in immunotherapy and tumor immunology.

To mark our 35th anniversary, SITC honored more awardees than ever before during its Annual Meeting, This year, SITC presented its Lifetime Achievement Award, a new honor for the society, to Tara Withington, CAE. For more than 20 years as SITC’s Executive Director, Tara has devoted all of herself to help fulfill our society’s mission and achieve new heights. Her vision helped SITC launch countless integral SITC initiatives including the connectED online education platform, the SITC Sparkathon, the certificate in cancer immunotherapy program, Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy™ regional education programs and many others.

Congratulations to all of the SITC 2020 Award recipients. Click here for a complete listing of those honored, including the dozens of young investigators who received awards this fall. And don’t forget, for all those who registered for SITC 2020, you can access program presentations through the end of the year via on-demand video in the SITC 2020 virtual platform.

The virtual meeting allowed SITC to expand our Annual Meeting programming to a truly global audience. This past year, SITC’s membership base grew to represent more than 60 countries around the world. Increasing global access to immunotherapy is one of the society’s key strategic priorities. One way we are seeking to achieve this goal will be through this month’s virtual workshop, Global Access to Cancer Immunotherapy: Closing the Gaps. Organized through the guidance and strategic vision of the SITC Global Access and Impact Committee, which is chaired by David Kaufman, MD, PhD, this workshop will offer leaders an opportunity to discuss and define minimal infrastructure requirements for safe and effective IO administration across the globe. Congruent with SITC’s mission to ensure that all immunotherapy advancements are freely available, materials from this workshop will be available on SITC Cancer Immunotherapy connectED after the conclusion of the workshop. We invite you to view the materials later in December and participate in future discussions concerning international IO accessibility.

Have you completed your holiday shopping? As we close out 2020, I ask that you consider including the Forward Fund in your year-end giving.  Making a donation to SITC’s Forward Fund, supports the future of the field through grants and awards for young investigators.  You can make the gift in honor or in memory of a loved one and help advance the Society’s mission.  They’ll receive a card notifying them of your generous gift and you’ll receive a gift recipient for tax purposes.  You can also purchase a CheckPoints T-shirt or Mask as a truly unique gift for someone you care about. If you missed the CheckPoints at SITC 2020, you can watch their happy hour performances here.  Further, if you are completing some holiday shopping on Amazon, use SITC’s Amazon Smile hyperlink, which triggers a 0.5 percent donation from the online retailer to our society on eligible purchases. We appreciate your kindness as we close out the calendar year.

As we approach the final days of 2020, I’m pleased to pass the baton of SITC leadership to fellow colleague and friend Patrick Hwu, MD. I look forward to seeing and supporting Dr. Hwu’s tenure as SITC President as he helps make the next two years for SITC our best yet.

Happy holidays to the entire SITC family.


Mario Sznol, MD

SITC President