Thank you to everyone who contributed to an incredibly successful SITC 29th Annual Meeting & Associated Programs! This year, more than 1,600 people from 28 different countries and nearly 700 different institutions attended SITC 2014, making it the largest meeting in SITC history!
Access Annual Meeting & Associated Program slides, view our online photo gallery and find out who was awarded at this year's event via the links below.
Arthur A. Hurwitz, PhD - National Cancer Institute
Kim A. Margolin, MD - Stanford University
Daniel E. Speiser, MD - Ludwig Center for Cancer Research of the University of Lausanne
Walter J. Urba, MD, PhD - Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Cancer Center
The SITC 29th Annual Meeting provided a multidisciplinary educational and interactive environment focused on improving outcomes for current and future patients with cancer by incorporating strategies based on basic and applied cancer immunotherapy. The meeting consisted of cutting-edge research presentations by experts in the field, oral and poster abstract presentations, and ample opportunities for structured and informal discussions, including important networking opportunities. In addition, the meeting included updates on major national and international initiatives coming from academia, government and industry, as well as important society projects.
Anna Carrizosa Anderson, PhD - Harvard Medical School
Drew M. Pardoll, MD, PhD - Johns Hopkins University
Mario Sznol, MD - Yale University
Dario A. A. Vignali, PhD - University of Pittsburgh
The purpose of this workshop was to identify the current challenges to implementation of combination immune-based therapies across multiple cancer indications and to identify potential solutions to improve the rational application of immunotherapy. Immune-profiling of the tumor microenvironment by multiple different approaches is currently being pursued as a means to guide the development and clinical application of combination immunotherapies. Immune-profiling prior to treatment may hold the key to elucidation of biomarkers predictive of response while immune-profiling of patients undergoing treatment may hold the key for identifying biomarkers indicative of favorable clinical response, thus providing a means for early intervention and modification of treatment regimens in patients who may not be responding. By participating in the workshop, participants interacted with clinicians and scientists at the forefront of the cancer immunotherapy field. Participants learned about the current barriers, the outstanding unaddressed questions, the current approaches and technologies being employed in the field, and future directions. Most importantly, participants had the opportunity to connect with leaders in the field to spark new collaborations to push the field forward.
The target audience for this program included basic scientists and clinical investigators from academic institutions, industry, and regulatory agencies. The audience included clinicians, translational and basic researchers, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows involved in cancer research.
Willem W. Overwijk, PhD - University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD - University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Our understanding of tumor immunobiology has increased dramatically in recent years, leading to the successful
development of novel immune-based treatment options to improve cancer patient outcomes. The SITC Primer on Tumor Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy™ was designed to provide a foundation for understanding core immunology principles as they relate to basic and clinical research in immunotherapy of cancer.
The target audience for this annual, one-day educational program included students, postdoctoral fellows, and technicians from academia and industry, as well as physicians and scientists at more senior levels who wished to solidify their understanding of tumor immunology and immunotherapy.
Immediately following the conclusion of the 29th Annual Meeting, the Society hosted two concurrent Hot Topic Symposia to address rapidly developing key issues in the field of cancer immunotherapy. In these symposia, leaders in the field delivered dynamic presentations on cutting-edge research and participated in interactive Question and Answer sessions with the audience.
Hot Topic Symposium I: Accelerating Tumor Immunity with Agonist Antibodies
Michael A. Curran, PhD –University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Ronald Levy, MD – Stanford University
Andrew D. Weinberg, PhD – Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Portland Medical Center
Tumors locally attenuate T cells through engagement of co-inhibitory receptors, as well as by depriving their microenvironment of the positive co-stimulation signals necessary for these cells to robustly expand and acquire high-levels of effector function. Antibodies which block immune checkpoint receptors have proven capable of extending survival and inducing tumor regression in patients suffering from a variety of metastatic cancers leading to FDA approval for Ipilimumab (a-CTLA-4) in 2011 and likely approval of multiple PD-1 blocking antibodies in the coming months. In contrast, antibodies designed to activate co-stimulatory receptors on T cells and/or antigen-presenting cells to promote enhanced survival, proliferation, and effector function have yet to move beyond early phase clinical trials despite profound therapeutic efficacy in pre-clinical models.
The development of these promising immunotherapeutic agonists has been slowed by limited understanding of their underlying mechanisms of action and, in many cases, the resulting inability to separate off-target toxicity from on-target anti-tumor immunity. Recent discoveries illuminating the detailed immunobiology of existing agonist antibodies such as a-CD40 and a-4-1BB, coupled with new agonists targeting OX40 and CD27 into the clinic, has renewed optimism that these agents will show the therapeutic promise they have displayed in animal models. This symposium addressed how activation of stimulatory receptors on both T cells and antigen presenting cells can enhance tumor immunity both in animal models and in clinical trials.
Hot Topic Symposium II: Managing Engineered T Cell Toxicities
Kristen Hege, MD – Celgene and University of California, San Francisco
Peter Emtage, MD – Medimmune/AstraZeneca
T cells can be engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) with enhanced intracellular signaling domains or optimized T cell receptors (TCR) to potently target and kill cancer cells in an antigen-directed manner. Unlike traditional drug therapies, engineered T cells have the unique ability to proliferate and expand in vivo and persist long term. Recent clinical data with CAR T cells targeting CD19 on B-cell malignancies has engendered a resurgence of excitement in this field based on induction of durable complete responses across B-cell leukemia and lymphoma indications. Compelling solid tumor responses have also been observed with T cells engineered to express affinity-enhance TCR. This impressive clinical activity has been associated with specific and unique toxicity syndromes, including cytokine release and macrophage activation syndrome, "on-target-off-tumor" toxicity and normal tissue antigen cross-reactivity. These toxicities can be serious and fatalities have been reported across institutions.
This symposium reviewed the safety experience with CAR T cells and engineered TCR T cells treating hematologic and solid tumor indications, with a specific focus on the unique toxicities described above. Faculty provided guidance on T cell engineering considerations, protocol eligibility restrictions, and special safety monitoring, grading and management guidelines to minimize risk associated with these novel T cell therapies.
Professional Development Session: A Roadmap for Thriving in Your Career
Davide Bedognetti, MD, PhD – Sidra Medical and Research Center
Kyle K. Payne – Virginia Commonwealth University - Massey Cancer Center
Kimberly A. Shafer-Weaver, PhD – Health Analytics, LLC
Anil Shanker, PhD – Meharry Medical College/Vanderbilt - Ingram Cancer Center
This half-day event educated attendees about relevant cancer development topics that lead to successful scientific careers in cancer immunotherapy. The intended audience for this program included graduate, medical and postbaccalaureate students; clinical fellows; postdoctoral fellows; assistant professors; and other early career professionals.
This breakfast session focused on the unique issues related to the career development of early career scientists. Key leaders in the field facilitated roundtable discussions on particular areas of interest. Experts answered questions and lead informal dialogues to provide guidance and directions. The intended audience for this program included graduate, medical and postbaccalaureate students; clinical fellows; postdoctoral fellows; assistant professors; and other early career professionals.
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