Immune Monitor - December 2019

A Message from the President

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to begin my final President's Message of 2019 by expressing our sincere appreciation to the 4,800 cancer immunotherapy professionals who attended our society's 34th Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (SITC 2019) in National Harbor last month. The research findings presented at the meeting demonstrated the exciting progress in our field at the bench and the bedside and point us in the direction of finding improved treatments for our patients. The path to a cure for most patients remains difficult, but SITC 2019 again showed that our growing community is capable and committed to achieve this mission.

I'd like to share important highlights of the past year which were possible only because of the outstanding efforts of our members, society leadership and SITC staff. Beyond the clear success that was SITC 2019, our society hosted numerous educational and scientific programs throughout the year, including Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy™ series around North America and workshops on cancer immune responsiveness and adoptive cellular therapies. Additionally, SITC launched new and/or expanded several initiatives to expand opportunities for our members including the Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network, Cancer Immunotherapy Winter School and the SITC Volunteer Portal. We should all feel proud of one key milestone for this year; SITC eclipsed 3,000 members for the first time in its history – an increase of more than 500 members this year.

In the past 11 months, we also developed bold and ambitious plans for SITC's immediate future. Earlier this year, executive leadership confirmed our society's 2019–21 strategic goals, to include the following:

  • Education and Scientific Exchange: Serve as the leading resource for information and education on cancer immunotherapy
  • Professional Standards: Set industry standards for the field of cancer immunotherapy in order to position SITC as the authority on immunotherapy of cancer
  • Global Access and Impact: Advance the science and application of cancer immunotherapy worldwide
  • Policy and Advocacy: Inform and influence the science and research, regulation, as well as quality of care and quality of access impacted by public policy, ensuring the patient voice is heard and recognized
  • Science and Research: Challenge the thinking and seek the best research in the exploration and development of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy
  • Leadership Development: Cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators in tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy

These six strategic goals are extensions of our historic goals and provide an ambitious agenda and direction for our society's leaders in the next few years. Together, work to achieve each of the goals will bring SITC closer to its ultimate mission, which is to improve cancer patient outcomes by advancing the science, development and application of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. In January, I'll report on plans to fulfill our six strategic goals in 2020.

There is still time in the current year to make progress on one of our most important objectives, leadership development. I invite you to join me in supporting the future of our field through a donation to SITC's Forward Fund. Since 2012, the Forward Fund has awarded more than $3.2 million toward programs, grants and initiatives that support early career scientists through research and education. Please consider making an end-of-year donation to the Forward Fund by Dec. 31, 2019, and your gift will be matched by an anonymous donor.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed toward the success of SITC in 2019. I look forward to the year ahead, working with all of my colleagues, to help SITC advance science and clinical care of cancer patients. Finally, I wanted to share a quick reminder about our online event on Wednesday (tomorrow). SITC will live stream its Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy™ (ACI) program (which is also occurring in-person in Nashville, Tenn.) on Dec. 4, beginning at 4:25 p.m. EST. ACIs are CME-, CPE-, CNE- and MOC-certified programs featuring nearly five hours of engaging cancer immunotherapy education that is free for healthcare professionals in the clinical setting, students and patient advocates. Click here to learn more and register for tomorrow's webcast.

I wish you a happy and safe holiday season.



Mario Sznol, MD

SITC President

SITC 2019–21 Strategic Plan

In 2019, SITC launched its three-year strategic plan centered on six goals: Education and Scientific Exchange; Global Access and Impact; Leadership Development; Policy and Advocacy; Professional Standards; and Science and Research. The goals serve the society's mission statement, core values and inform the purpose and execution of all SITC programs and initiatives.

Join or Renew Your Membership for 2020

Renewals are now open for the 2020 membership year. Whether seeking to expand your professional network, receive discounted rates to exemplary meetings, stay current with the field via SITC meeting presentations or more, a SITC membership provides value to all experience levels. Join or renew today!

Attend the 2020 SITC Cancer Immunotherapy Winter School

SITC is pleased to host its second Cancer Immunotherapy Winter School, a comprehensive cancer immunotherapy education program, on Jan. 13–17, 2020, at the Hilton Houston Post Oak in Houston. Taught by leading experts in the field, this five-day program provides attendees with a deep understanding of the core principles of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy and examines developing areas in the field.

Program Organizers

  • Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD – Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy/University of California San Francisco
  • Leisha A. Emens, MD, PhD – UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

The Cancer Immunotherapy Winter School (click here to register now), is tailored to early-to-mid career scientists and clinicians in the field of cancer immunotherapy working in academic, clinical, industry and government settings as well as those new to the field. The curriculum covers the fundamentals of cancer immunotherapy and features separate tracks, clinical and research, allowing participants to tailor their experience by selecting the educational path most relevant to their learning goals.

Click here to learn more about this program.

Attend the 2020 Interrogating the Tumor-Specific Surfaceome for Immune Targeting Workshop

SITC invites you to attend the workshop, Interrogating the Tumor-Specific Surfaceome for Immune Targeting. Scheduled for April 23–24, 2020, at the Hotel Republic in San Diego, this SITC workshop (click here to register now) will focus on the tumor cell surfaceome and the many opportunities that accompany it for the development of future immunotherapies and maximization of existing techniques. By bringing together experts on the topic from a variety of fields including medical oncology, bioinformatics, cancer biology, genetics/epigenetics, immunology, and many others, the workshop will facilitate increased discussion in this important area.

Workshop Organizers

  • Samir M. Hanash, MD, PhD – The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Avery D. Posey Jr., PhD – University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Concepts ranging from the basic biology of cancer cell surface molecules to applications of drugs and cellular therapies targeting novel surface markers will be discussed, with the goal of defining the future direction of the field. It is anticipated that the efforts of this workshop will fuel innovative collaborations, disseminate important knowledge to the rest of the immunotherapy field, and help assure the continued growth of immunotherapy treatments as a whole. Click here to learn more about this workshop.

Click here to learn more about this workshop.