Highlights from the 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting

The 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, held October 23-25, in Chicago, featured talks by Greg Simon, executive director of Vice President Joe Bidenís Cancer Moonshot Task Force, Dr. Richard Pazdur, acting director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationís Oncology Center of Excellence, and National Cancer Institute Acting Director Dr. Douglas Lowy.

The meeting convened more than 350 AACI cancer center directors and executive-level administrators with leaders of national cancer research and advocacy groups, industry, and government health agencies to develop solutions to common challenges and to share best practices.

AACI presented the 2016 AACI Distinguished Scientist Award to Dr. James P. Allison, Professor of Immunology, Chair of the Department of Immunology, and Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Allisonís annual meeting presentation illuminated the origins, current status, and future directions of checkpoint blockade in immunological approaches to cancer therapy.

AACI also honored two leading congressional champions of cancer research. Representative Tom Cole, of Oklahoma, and Representative Marcia Fudge, of Ohio, received AACIís 2016 Distinguished Public Service Award for their exceptional leadership in promoting cancer research. Rep. Fudge accepted the award in person, delivering remarks and meeting briefly with cancer center leaders from her home district in northeast Ohio, including AACI President Dr. Stanton Gerson, director of Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, in Cleveland.

AACI Executive Director Barbara Duffy Stewart acknowledged program and activity support this past year from 14 industry supporters: Amgen, Astellas, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Complion, Forte Research Systems, Genentech, Gilead, Janssen Research & Development, Lilly, Merck, Nimblify (a Forte Company), Pfizer, Takeda Oncology, and Velos.

The AACI Annual Meeting Program Committee, chaired by Dr. Scott Lippman, director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, assembled an outstanding array of speakers and panels. The meeting included three panel discussions focused on precision medicine, along with an update on AACIís Academic Difference Initiative, led by AACI Immediate Past President Dr. George J. Weiner.

The precision medicine presentations highlighted the creation and management of molecular tumor boards, efforts to facilitate precision medicine collaboration, and in-house versus outsourced molecular testing. Other panel discussions looked at new molecular tools and technologies, genomic markers for cancer prevention and early detection, and practical advice for a successful CCSG submission.