AACI Update | January 2022

Headlines

Call for Abstracts: 14th Annual AACI CRI Meeting

Call for Abstracts: 14th Annual AACI CRI Meeting

The AACI CRI Steering Committee is currently soliciting abstracts for the 14th Annual AACI CRI Meeting. This year’s meeting theme will focus on innovation in cancer clinical research. The purpose of the abstracts is to inform meeting attendees about clinical trials office challenges and solutions implemented at AACI cancer centers.

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The History of the Association of American Cancer Institutes

The History of the Association of American Cancer Institutes

Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act, AACI is pleased to share The History of the Association of American Cancer Institutes. Written by Donald L. Trump, MD, and Eric T. Rosenthal, authors of Centers of the Cancer Universe: A Half-Century of Progress Against Cancer (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021), the AACI history is based on meeting minutes, other source documents and interviews with AACI past presidents.

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Correction - December 2021 AACI Update

Dr. Wendy Brewster is associate director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. A story in the “Leadership Transitions” section of the December 2021 AACI Update misidentified her institution.
 

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News from the Centers

Investigators Win Life Sciences Award for Cancer Mapping Technology

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins astrophysicist, Alexander Szalay, PhD, and Kimmel Cancer Center pathologist Janis Taube, MD, MSc, received a Life Sciences 2021 award for AstroPath at this year’s Falling Walls Science Summit, an international event honoring research breakthroughs from across the globe. Their submission, "Breaking the Wall to Mapping Cancer Using Multispectral Microscopy," was selected from hundreds of entries.

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Scientists Named to Influential Researchers List

Siteman Cancer Center

Nine research members of Siteman Cancer Center were named to Clarivate’s Highly Cited Researchers list of 2021. The nine, who are faculty members of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, demonstrate significant research influence among their peers.

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Greco Inducted as American College of Surgeons Fellow

Greco Inducted as American College of Surgeons Fellow
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health

Stephanie Greco, MD, FACS, an assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons during the convocation ceremony at the ACS Clinical Congress, held virtually in October.

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Rising Star Reflects on Winding Road to Cancer Disparities Research

Rising Star Reflects on Winding Road to Cancer Disparities Research
VCU Massey Cancer Center
 STAT News has named Arnethea Sutton, PhD, as one of this year’s 27 STAT Wunderkinds – the news organization’s award recognizing rising stars in biomedical research. When she arrived at VCU as an undergraduate in 2001, the first in her family to attend college, Dr. Sutton thought she’d be a pharmacist. Then, while earning her bachelor’s degree, she switched to medical laboratory science, working in the pathology lab at VCU Health.
 

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Rogel Earns Rectal Cancer Accreditation

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center

The University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center has earned a three-year accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.

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Social Worker Selected as Emerging Palliative Care Leader

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health

Rebecca (Becky) Cammy, LCSW, manager of social work at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, has been accepted into the Cambia Health Foundation’s Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program. Cammy is one of 10 emerging interprofessional palliative care leaders carefully chosen through a rigorous selection process from a highly competitive national pool.

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$30 Million Gift to Establish Center for Prostate Cancer

$30 Million Gift to Establish Center for Prostate Cancer
University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center

University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser has committed $30 million to Michigan Medicine to establish an innovative, patient-focused program in prostate cancer. The Ronald Weiser Center for Prostate Cancer will invest in staff, infrastructure, technologies and education as well as research into the disease and its treatment.

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$25 Million Gift to Accelerate Discovery at Renamed Legorreta Cancer Center

$25 Million Gift to Accelerate Discovery at Renamed Legorreta Cancer Center
Legorreta Cancer Center at Brown University

A $25 million gift from life sciences entrepreneur and investor Pablo Legorreta and his wife, Almudena, will advance a plan to transform Brown University’s recently launched cancer center into a world-class facility. Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP, is the center's director.

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Proton Therapy Treatment Facility is Part of Ongoing Expansion

Moffitt Cancer Center

With a transformational philanthropic gift of $15 million from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Moffitt Cancer Center has announced that in 2022 it will initiate its plan for a new proton therapy treatment facility.

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$6 Million Gift Launches New CAR T Initiative

UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC San Francisco has launched the Baszucki Lymphoma Therapeutics Initiative to increase the effectiveness and availability of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) therapy for lymphoma patients. Jan Ellison Baszucki and her husband, Roblox CEO David Baszucki, gifted $6 million over five years to support the initiative.

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Holcombe Invested as Inaugural J. Walter Juckett Chair in Cancer Research

Holcombe Invested as Inaugural J. Walter Juckett Chair in Cancer Research
The University of Vermont Cancer Center

With $3 million in support from a longtime donor to the University of Vermont Cancer Center, Director Randall F. Holcombe, MD, MBA, was invested as the inaugural J. Walter Juckett Chair in Cancer Research in the Larner College of Medicine.

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Research to Examine Racial Disparities in Immunotherapy Effectiveness

Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University

Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University received a $2,997,215 federal grant to help determine why African Americans show poorer responses than whites to an immune checkpoint inhibitor for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Principal investigators are Ann Schwartz, PhD, MPH, deputy center director, and Gerold Bepler, MD, PhD, Karmanos president and CEO.

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Translational Studies Have Potential to Find Lung Cancer Therapies

Translational Studies Have Potential to Find Lung Cancer Therapies
University of Illinois Cancer Center

University of Illinois Cancer Center member Jiyeon Kim, PhD, received a four-year grant from the American Cancer Society to investigate whether the pathway that increases fructose and mannose metabolism in lung cancer is a potential therapeutic target.

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New Grant Program to Support Community-Led Health Initiatives

VCU Massey Cancer Center

The new Massey Cancer Center Community Grant Program will help community partners expand programs focused on the promotion of health, health equity, person-centered care across the cancer continuum—from prevention through survivorship—and reducing suffering from cancer.

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Li Named Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Li Named Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

The Fred Hutch/University of Washington Cancer Consortium has named Christopher Li, MD, PhD, its first associate director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). In this role, Dr. Li will coordinate and drive work that enhances DEI efforts across the consortium’s partner institutions.

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Werner Appointed New Senior Director of Clinical Research

Werner Appointed New Senior Director of Clinical Research
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Theresa L. Werner, MD, has been appointed to the position of senior director of clinical research. She has served as clinical trials office medical director since 2015, was a recipient of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award in 2016, and recently finished her three-year term as the chair of AACI's Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) steering committee.

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Skoracki Named Director of Breast Center

Skoracki Named Director of Breast Center
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

Roman Skoracki, MD, has been named medical director of the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center (SSCBC) at OSUCCC – James. He succeeds William Farrar, MD, current CEO of The James, who has served as the SSCBC medical director since its inception in 2011.

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Computational Biologist Will Lead Efforts to Integrate Data Science

Computational Biologist Will Lead Efforts to Integrate Data Science
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has named computational biologist Robert Bradley, PhD, scientific director of the Hutch’s Translational Data Science Integrated Research Center. Dr. Bradley fills the role vacated earlier in 2021 by Raphael Gottardo, PhD, who launched the Translational Data Science IRC in 2018.

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Leadership Changes to Advance Innovation, Excellence

University of Florida Health Cancer Center

The University of Florida Health Cancer Center announces two leadership changes aimed at advancing innovation and excellence in cancer research, care, delivery, and education. In October, Duane Mitchell, MD, PhD, joined the center’s executive leadership team as associate director for innovation and discovery and Elias Sayour, MD, was appointed co-leader of the Cancer Therapeutics & Host Response research program.

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Researchers Discover How Cells From Tumors Remain Dormant for Years Before Metastasis Occurs

The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai

Jose Javier Bravo-Cordero, PhD, and colleagues have reported on their findings that show how cancer cells remain dormant for years after they leave a tumor and travel to other parts of the body, before awakening to create metastatic cancer.

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Supermeres May Carry Clues to Cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, and COVID-19

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have discovered a nanoparticle released from cells, called a "supermere," which contains enzymes, proteins, and RNA associated with multiple cancers, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even COVID-19.

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Patent Awarded for Gene Transfer Technology That Could Transform Cancer Therapies

Wilmot Cancer Institute, UR Medicine

Researchers at the University of Rochester Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience and Rochester Institute of Technology have received a U.S. patent for technology designed to accelerate development of cell therapies for cancer and other bio-therapies. The technique provides a less toxic alternative to standard gene transfer techniques by using an array of carbon nanotubes to deliver DNA into primary neurons, immune cells, and stem cells.

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Pathway Discovered That Allows Cancer to Bypass Oncology Treatments

City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

Researchers at City of Hope have identified a pathway that explains how mutated cancer cells can continue to replicate and become resistant to oncology therapies. Using whole genome sequencing technology, the scientists discovered a new mechanism for how genetically defective cells mutate to survive stressful situations, such as drug treatment.

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Public Data Used to Find Hijacked Proteins That Let Tumor Cells Divide, Grow, and Conquer

Cedars-Sinai Cancer

A research team co-led by Cedars-Sinai has created a method for using widely available data to identify proteins that could play key roles in tumor formation. Called master transcription factors, these proteins vary with each cancer type and could provide targets for therapies.

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Socioeconomic Status Influences Telehealth Use, Study Finds

The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Socioeconomic status may be a factor when it comes to using telemedicine, researchers have observed. Among 16,000 people with a new cancer diagnosis, those with the highest socioeconomic status were more likely to use telemedicine within 30 days of diagnosis. The study was led by Ronald Chen, MD, MPH, and his team at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

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Racial Disparities in Lung Cancer Outcomes Erased by Equal Access to Top Treatments

Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center

Although Black lung cancer patients are more likely to die from their disease than white patients, they have better outcomes than whites when treated with immunotherapies that are now considered the best standard of care, a team of researchers led by Tomi Akinyemiju, PhD, has found.

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Improved Treatment Options Found for Patients With Advanced Colorectal Cancer

City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

City of Hope has announced study results of a Phase II clinical trial showing monotherapy with sotorasib resulted in anti-tumor activity and a favorable benefit-risk profile among heavily pretreated patients with advanced colorectal cancer.

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Genetic Mutation Could Play Role in Improving Leukemia Treatment

University of Florida Health Cancer Center

In the battle against acute myeloid leukemia, a genetic mutation could hold the key to more effective, lower-dose treatments. The new, early findings by University of Florida Health researchers and their colleagues are especially relevant for older or frail patients who may not be able to tolerate high-dose chemotherapy.

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Homing in on Shared Network of Cancer Genes

Wilmot Cancer Institute, UR Medicine

Wilmot Cancer Institute researchers are a step closer to understanding the complex gene interactions that cause a cell to become malignant. In a new study, the group used network modeling to home in on a set of such interactions that are critical to malignancy, and likely to be fertile ground for broad cancer therapies.

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Research Contributes to FDA Approval of First-Ever Drug for Acute GVHD

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first-ever drug to be used for the prevention of acute graft versus host disease (aGVHD) in adult and pediatric patients, opening the door for safer bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants in patients who do not have a perfectly matched graft donor.

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T-Dxd Analysis Shows Encouraging Results in Controlling Stable Brain Metastases in HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

A subgroup analysis of a Phase III study led by researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found consistent progression-free survival and objective response rate benefit when women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer were treated with the HER2-targeting antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd), compared to the current standard of treatment.

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Colorectal Cancer Screening Lags Among Rural Women, Study Reveals

University of Virginia Cancer Center

Women who live in urban and rural areas get screened for breast cancer at similar rates, but rural women get screened for colorectal cancer at significantly lower rates than their urban counterparts, new research reveals.

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Study Sets Framework for Precision Surveillance of Colorectal Cancer

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

A team of Vanderbilt researchers has revealed some of the mechanisms by which polyps develop into colorectal cancer, setting the framework for improved surveillance for the cancer utilizing precision medicine.

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Study Shows Lymphoma Patients Can Benefit From Receiving CAR T Sooner

Moffitt Cancer Center

Results from the ZUMA-7 clinical trial, led by Frederick Locke, MD, vice chair of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy Department, show lymphoma patients can benefit from receiving the CAR T product axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) sooner.

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Venetoclax Combination Therapies Effective Against Challenging Subtypes of AML

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Combination therapies including venetoclax and another therapy have displayed promising results against subtypes of acute myeloid leukemia(AML) that are particularly difficult to treat, including relapsed or refractory AML with a specific mutation, high-risk AML, and treated secondary AML.

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Growth Hormone in Colon Found to Play Role in Aging Process

Cedars-Sinai Cancer

Investigators at Cedars-Sinai have identified growth hormone in the colon that increases as the colon ages – a discovery that can help guide the development of a new anti-aging therapy. The findings provide important clues on how local non-pituitary growth hormone is activated in aging colon tissue, initiating the first steps in tumor development.

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Research Leads to Unique Clinical Trial of Mesothelioma Treatment

The University of Vermont Cancer Center

Since 2004, only two therapies have been approved for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, which affects about 3,000 people a year in the United States. Now a promising new therapy for mesothelioma and metastatic cancer, arising from laboratory investigations at the University of Vermont, is about to enter a Phase I clinical trial.

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Drug Compound Makes Pancreatic Cancer Cells More Vulnerable to Chemo

Siteman Cancer Center

Washington University researchers at Siteman Cancer Center have identified a drug compound that makes pancreatic cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy. Studying mice, they found evidence suggesting that the drug also may reduce some of the damaging side effects of the chemotherapy cocktail FOLFIRINOX, commonly used to treat pancreatic cancer.

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Hematologists Present New Research on FLT3 Inhibitors, CART-19

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center hematology experts in leukemia, lymphoma, and other specialties presented new research at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. Highlighted projects included research on CAR T cell therapy, immunotherapy, leukemia, lymphoma, and the management of genetic mutations in aggressive and rare blood cancers.

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Does Cancer Immunotherapy Work Differently in Men Versus Women?

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health

New research shows that women with advanced melanoma are twice as likely as men to die when treated with a combination of the checkpoint inhibitors nivolumab plus ipilimumab.

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How AI and Machine Learning Will Contribute to Cancer Patient Care and Vaccine Design

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

In a recent viewpoint paper, investigators at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School explored how artificial intelligence and machine learning will complement existing approaches focused on genome-protein sequence information, including identifying mutations in human tumors.

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New Tool Shows Prognostic, Clinical Significance of Recently Approved Diagnostic Imaging Modality

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Researchers at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center led a large international study providing what is believed to be the first evidence (albeit indirect) that a recently approved imaging technique improves risk-stratification and long-term prognostic capabilities for patients with high-risk prostate cancer whose conventional imaging showed only localized disease.

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Scientists Research New Device to Diagnose Skin Cancer

Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute and the University of Utah have created a device, named URSKIN, that exploits changes in the electrical properties of skin that occur during cancer cell development by using a technique called non-visual electrical impedance demography.

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Team Identifies Accelerator of Treatment-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

An international research team co-led by scientists at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute has identified an important accelerator of treatment-resistant prostate cancer.

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Experts Co-Author Book About War on Cancer

Experts Co-Author Book About War on Cancer
Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine

Several Yale Cancer Center faculty have authored chapters in a newly released book, A New Deal For Cancer: Lessons from a 50 Year War. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the landmark signing of the National Cancer Act, the book reflects on the decades-long battle to eradicate the hundreds of complex diseases that fall within the umbrella of cancer.

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Hematologist Steven Coutre Dies at 62

Hematologist Steven Coutre Dies at 62
Stanford Cancer Institute

Steven Coutre, MD, a professor of hematology at the Stanford School of Medicine, died November 9 in Palo Alto, California, from complications of leukemia and COVID-19. He was 62. The director of Stanford Health Care’s hematology clinic, Coutre had a passion for rigorous science and was integral to the development of new therapies for blood disorders.

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New Center Dedicated to Blood and Marrow Transplants

Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone

NYU Langone Health’s Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center opened a new state-of-the-art center to treat people with blood cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. The new Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Center is part of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program and the larger Center for Blood Cancers at Perlmutter Cancer Center, supported by an anonymous $75 million gift.

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Pragmatic Tips on Setting Up a Comprehensive Cancer Center

Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center

A new open-access book written by experts in the field of oncology, hematology, and stem cell transplantation—The Comprehensive Cancer Center—is now available for download.

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SHE in Oncology Program Provides Experience for Future Women in Science

UK Markey Cancer Center

Launched in the summer of 2021 with funding from the American Cancer Society, SHE in Oncology empowers Kentucky high school students who identify as female with experiences that give them insight about career interests and leadership opportunities in the field of oncology.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Effective in People With Cancer, Study Finds

Stanford Cancer Institute

The mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing infection in most cancer patients, according to a nationwide study of veterans diagnosed with cancer in the past decade. But the researchers found that some vaccinated patients, including those who had received therapies that suppressed their immune systems within six months before vaccination, were less protected than their peers from COVID-19 infection.

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Cancer Center Jobs

Medical Genetics, Director
Cedars-Sinai Cancer
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Director, Case CCC
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Research Practice Manager
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center
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Administrative Director, Clinical Research Operations
UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Meeting Announcements

Equity by Design in Clinical Research: Cancer Trials

March 8, 2022
Webinar Series, Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center, MA

Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard (MRCT Center), in partnership with the Center for Cancer Equity and Engagement, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, present Equity by Design in Clinical Research: Cancer Trials.

The weekly webinar series will be held from 4:30 to 6:00 pm ET, March 8 through April 14. Click below for more details and registration information.

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AACI/AACR Virtual Hill Day

June 15, 2022
Virtual Meeting

Save the date for the 2022 AACI/AACR Virtual Hill Day. More details to come.

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14th Annual AACI CRI Meeting

July 12, 2022
Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel, 5300 N. River Rd., Rosemont, IL 60018

The health and safety of meeting attendees is of paramount importance. AACI continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health guidelines. We are currently planning for an in-person event, July 12-14, at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, and will implement protective measures in accordance with current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the City of Chicago. 

Meeting Policies and FAQ

Can I register with a group of colleagues at a discounted rate? No. Group registrations were available only to attendees of the 2021 virtual CRI meeting. Since we are planning an in-person meeting this year, we are providing the same registration options available for previous in-person meetings.

Will there be an option to attend this meeting virtually? For those who are unable to attend the meeting in person, AACI will provide a virtual option. To register as a virtual attendee, select the "Member - Virtual Only" registration type. This will give you access to all sessions held in the main ballroom. Login information will be provided closer to the meeting. 

Do I need to be vaccinated to attend the CRI meeting? Yes. Proof of full vaccination will be requested at registration and when checking in to the meeting. No attendee will be permitted to pick up their badge without submitting proof of vaccination status. In the event that an attendee is not fully vaccinated or does not disclose their vaccination status at registration, they will be required to present a negative PCR test result upon entering the event and must wear a mask throughout the duration of the meeting. The PCR test must be taken 72 hours before the start of the meeting. “Full vaccination,” as defined by the CDC, means a person has received their primary series (two doses) of an approved COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) or a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine; boosters are not required for attendance. 

What is the CRI meeting mask policy? AACI will require anyone of undisclosed or incomplete vaccination status to wear a high-quality mask (N95 or KN95 preferred) throughout the meeting. A mask must completely cover your mouth and nose and may be removed only briefly for eating and drinking. 
Do I need to take a COVID test before entering the meeting? If an attendee is not fully vaccinated or does not disclose their vaccination status, they will be required to present the result of a PCR test taken 72 hours before the meeting. Fully vaccinated attendees are not required to present test results. However, any attendees, regardless of vaccination status, should refrain from attending the meeting if they have knowingly been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms. If an attendee is already on-site and experiencing symptoms, they should be tested as soon as possible and remain in their hotel room. 

AACI reserves the right to revise vaccination, masking, and testing policies based on evolving public health recommendations, and will notify attendees of any changes as soon as possible.

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2022 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting

October 2, 2022
InterContinental at the Plaza, 401 Ward Pkwy., Kansas City, MO 64112

Save the date for the 2022 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting. More details to come.

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