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Oncology Times:
doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000441843.95548.b6
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AACR Annual Meeting Will Step up Focus on Clinical Research and Provide More Opportunities for Young Investigators

Rosenthal, Eric T.

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The American Association for Cancer Research recently issued a call for the Annual Meeting for researchers to submit abstracts on “cutting-edge clinical trials”—a direct extension, the notice said, of the association's continuing emphasis on translating science for patient benefit and increasing research opportunities for “disciplinary integration.”

The Annual Meeting—“Harnessing Breakthroughs, Targeting Cures”—will be held April 5-9 in San Diego.

In an interview, AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, said that AACR has been focusing on getting more clinical content into its annual meeting for the last decade and that about half the membership is now involved in clinical research. Such research, though, she emphasized, is not only for clinicians—basic scientists are also interested in seeing how their work translates to the clinic.

Researchers from industry are also welcome to present abstracts, Foti said. “AACR is very proud that it respects the contributions of industry to cancer research.”

At AACR 2013, science-based clinical research was featured in four sessions, with a total of 17 presentations, and the results of another 21 trials were reported in four mini-symposia; there were also seven poster sessions, which all also included clinical research.

The 2014 meeting will maintain a similar structure, she said, with the oral presentations presented in two separate sequential talks: the first featuring clinical trial data, and the second explaining the science behind developing a novel agent or diagnostic related to the trial.

The deadline for regular abstracts was December 3, but late-breaking abstracts can be submitted until January 27, and completed abstracts with results and conclusions are due by February 28.

Foti said that AACR is mostly interested in proof-of-concept Phase I or II trials, but Phase III research is also welcome.

She said that reinforcing the importance of basic science in the clinic would be mentioned at the opening session. AACR is very committed to patient care, she said. “Personalized cancer medicine is our sweet spot, because it encompasses laboratory research.”

Also noteworthy at the Annual Meeting, she said, is a new feature involving “rising stars in cancer research.”

“We'll be embedding research by young investigators into the major sessions. Our Board of Directors and Annual Meeting committee have been anxious to encourage young investigators to present their work. In the past, young investigators haven't had this opportunity to present their work in this way, and we'll be adding selected talks by young investigators into major symposia and New Concept sessions.”

This change, she said, will permit “rising stars to become more visible” by presenting before larger audiences in venues usually reserved for senior researchers. She added that post-docs, graduate students, clinical fellows, and physicians-in-training who were AACR associate members as well as active members with academic ranks no higher than assistant professor had been invited to submit an extended abstract, a CV, and a letter of recommendation from a mentor or principal investigator. Those selected were expected to have been notified by the end of last month.

Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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