Immune Monitor February 2017

A Message from the President

Dear Colleagues,

We have seen tremendous progress in the field of cancer immunotherapy in recent years, and the potential exists to improve the benefits obtained with monotherapy by combining drugs with complementary mechanisms of action. Well over 500 trials of immune-based combination therapies are underway; coupled with increasing opportunities for collaboration between the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, government and academia, the field is at an exciting juncture where the potential for improved therapeutic options has never been greater.

To this end, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) Combination Immunotherapies Task Force has just published a white paper entitled; “Combination immunotherapy: a road map”, in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer. Building on previous work in this area, the article explores the most important hypothesis-driven prospects for combination therapies. Going beyond this, however, it addresses the applicability of mouse models for drug testing; safety considerations in early clinical testing; the need for innovative, flexible early phase clinical trial designs; and appropriate safety and efficacy endpoints for early phase clinical trials, all specifically in the setting of combination immunotherapy. With greater understanding of these agents’ mechanisms of action – and of the counter-defense mounted by tumors – we anticipate novel combinations will increase the number of patients who respond to immunotherapy, the tolerability of treatments, and the duration of treatment response.

The field took a big step forward with the FDA’s recent approval of nivolumab for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma following progression on a platinum-containing chemotherapy. Nivolumab is the second immunotherapy (and first PD-1 targeted agent) approved in this setting and provides another much needed option for patients with advanced disease. In light of this recent progress and the growing number of drug approvals, SITC is developing a Cancer Immunotherapy Guideline for bladder cancer to meet the growing demand for expert advice on the optimal use of immunotherapy in this setting. Please watch for an announcement in the coming weeks for a Call for Comment on the manuscript. We encourage all SITC members to take advantage of the opportunity to provide feedback on this important guidelines document.

Finally, with regard to recent events, SITC is committed to ensuring our members and stakeholders from all over the world are able to participate in our scientific exchange and networking opportunities, access our educational meetings and resources, and participate in work that all moves the cancer immunotherapy field forward. We will continue to monitor events closely and support our members.

On behalf of the society, thank you for your support of SITC and your efforts for the cancer immunotherapy field.



Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD

SITC President



ACI_Logo-IM_Final.jpgMark your calendars! SITC’s call for abstracts to the 32nd Annual Meeting is approaching. This is your opportunity to showcase your latest research at the largest conference solely focused on cancer immunotherapy. Abstract submitters will have the opportunity to give oral abstract presentations within Annual Meeting sessions.

SITC early career members who submit an abstract to the Annual Meeting as both primary and presenting author are eligible for one of 32 SITC Young Investigator Awards – a total of $25,000 in travel reimbursements for these 32 recipients.

Did you know? SITC members may register and book housing for SITC 2017 in advance of nonmembers and receive up to a 20% savings on registration. Join SITC, renew your membership, or check your current membership status.


SITC collaborates with other organizations to provide educational cancer immunotherapy sessions for healthcare professionals and scientists globally. Listed below are upcoming professional development opportunities:

3rd Forum on Immunotherapy & Translational Immunology of Cancer (FIT-Cancer III)

Presented by the Spanish Group for Immuno-Biological Therapies in Cancer (Gética) in collaboration with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer

March 9-11, 2017 • Seville, Spain
FIT-Cancer III is an educational program, offered primarily in Spanish, addressing new highlights in the field of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. SITC is sponsoring a travel grant for a junior faculty member. Applications for the travel grant require a poster abstract submission and are due February 27, 2017, midnight Central European Time. SITC members are eligible to receive discounted registration rates. Learn more and register.

Fourth Immunotherapy of Cancer Conference (ITOC4)

Presented by the Cancer Drug Development Forum (CDDF) in collaboration with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer

March 20-22, 2017 • Prague, Czech Republic
This international conference provides stakeholders the opportunity to discuss the latest innovations in immunotherapy including combination therapy, immuno-monitoring and biomarker development. Online registration is available through March 10, 2017. SITC members are eligible to receive discounted registration rates with a promo code. Email to receive your code. Learn more and register.

Cancer Immunology Working Group Town Hall and Reception

Co-sponsored by the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), Cancer Immunology (CIMM) Working Group and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer

April 2, 2017 • Washington, D.C.
Open to all AACR Annual Meeting attendees, the Town Hall Meeting of the CIMM Working Group will cover highlights of recent research in immunology and immunotherapy and SITC’s initiatives in the field. Learn more and register.

Did you know? SITC members qualify for discounted registration rates on most of SITC’s educational programs and collaborations throughout 2017. Join SITC, renew your membership, or check your current membership status.


ACI_Online-IM_Final.jpgAvailable now online – Learn about immunotherapy as a treatment for cancer from leading experts in cancer immunotherapy research and clinical cancer care. Select presentations recorded from SITC’s Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy™ (ACI) live regional events are now available online for continuing education credits for physicians, pharmacists and nurses. These online, recorded modules provide a basic overview of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy and describe the treatment of genitourinary cancer, lung cancer and melanoma through case study support. Take advantage of these modules:

Did you know? SITC members receive up to a 25% savings on registration rates to SITC’s ACI CME- and CE-certified live education programs. Join SITC, renew your membership, or check your current membership status.


ACI_Online-IM_Final.jpgDeveloped through a partnership with Medscape Oncology, SITC is pleased to offer a variety of complimentary CME- and CE- certified activities through the joint Clinical Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy portal. Experience these recently released activities:

Did you know? You do not have to be a member to access and share SITC’s easy to understand Patient Cancer Resource Guide: Understanding Cancer Immunotherapy with patients and patient advocates. Read or download the latest edition free.


Policy & Advocacy


The Immuno-Oncology Policy Working Group (I-O) was launched in December 2015 to develop a strategic policy plan to accelerate progress for immune-oncology in multiple disease types and settings. SITC’s role is to develop policy strategies to facilitate the development and use of immuno-oncology treatments including regulatory, legislative, reimbursement and education/training efforts. Learn more about the participating constituencies of the I-O Policy Working Group.

Did you know? Each year, nearly 500 SITC volunteer members work to create everything that you see and experience at educational events, society meetings and in publications. Join today to be eligible for SITC’s vast array of committees and task forces.


Science, Research & Publications


jitc-logo.jpgSITC is bringing the most popular articles from the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) directly to the SITC online community. See which topics your peers are talking about and browse highly accessed articles from the past month when you visit the JITC homepage on Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT, Powered by SITC.

Did you know? JITC’s article processing charges are waived for SITC members through 2017 – an incredible $2,500 value! Join SITC, renew your membership, or check your current membership status.


sim-logo-v2.jpg Society


Connect-ConnectED(1).jpgCancer Immunotherapy CONNECT, Powered by SITC has garnered a lot of buzz in the community since launching last month. Share your thoughts with other users in some trending discussions taking place in the Open Forum:

Immune-Based Therapies

“These are indeed exciting times in the field of cancer immunotherapy but [we] are only now beginning to understand the complexities of the milieu in which the tumor thrives.”

Venky Ramakrishna, PhD

Oncology News Burst from FDA: Nivolumab

“On February 2, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to nivolumab (OPDIVO, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) for treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma […]”


How Do You Describe Your Job?

“When you're asked at a party or by a new acquaintance what field you're in, how do you describe cancer immunotherapy in a way that a non-scientist/medical professional can understand?”


Did you know? You don’t have to be a member to join SITC CONNECT and contribute to community discussions in the Open Forum. Create a free CONNECT account to converse about the latest trends in the industry, post a message, or reply to ongoing discussion threads.


WCD_IM.jpgOn February 4, 2017, SITC helped to raise awareness of cancer immunotherapy as a treatment modality for World Cancer Day on social media. The society received over 6,000 views while promoting its ground-breaking Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines series on Twitter using the #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan hashtags. The society extends a special thanks to the more than 250 contacts in SITC’s network that did their part by printing and hanging posters in their institutions, sharing infographics, and uploading support graphics to their social media profiles from the World Cancer Day materials page.

Did you know? You can help elevate cancer immunotherapy as a standard of care by becoming a SITC member and volunteering your time and expertise to the society. Join SITC, renew your membership, or check your current membership status.




January 1-31, 2017

Thank you to those who joined the society in the month of January. If you are a current member, plan to reach out to these new members by sending a message of congratulations through the Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT, Powered by SITC Member Directory:

Adam Ajina, MD
Simone Anfossi, PhD
Johanna Bendell, MD
Kim Blenman, PhD
Sophia C. Davis
Yimin Du, PhD
Allam A. Fakhoury, PharmD
David Felker, PhD
Ilana Fogelman, MD, MPH
Konrad Gabrusiewicz, MSc, PhD
Pierre-Olivier Gaudreau, MD
James Gordy, PhD
Farah Hasan
Sherri Hatch
Swaminathan P. Iyer, MD, MBBS
Lilit Karapetyan, MD
Stanley Krulewicz, MA
Dale Kummerle, PharmD
John Liechty
Andreas Lundqvist, PhD
Andrea J. Manrique-Rincon
Margaret (Peg) M. McCormick, RN, BSN, MBA, MA
Zhuochun Peng
Koustubh Ranade, PhD
Pat A. Rayman, MS
Marlon C. Rebelatto, DVM, PhD, DACVP
Adrian E. Rice, PhD
Ann Richmond, PhD
Laura M. Rogers, PhD
Carsten Schnatwinkel, PhD
Sumit K. Subudhi, MD, PhD
Linda Summerton, PhD
Reid Thompson, MD, PhD
Thu Le Trinh, PhD
Apostolia M. Tsimberidou, MD, PhD
Takuya Tsunoda, MD
Nhan Tu, PhD
Anne M. Villeneuve, PhD
Sabrina Yu-Sang Yang, PhD
Ki Tae Yoon, MD, PhD
Joanne Yun, PhD


Did you know? SITC members who recruit colleagues to join the society using the Connect-a-Colleague Tool become eligible for SITC’s 2017 Connect-a-Colleague Top Referrer award. Join SITC, renew your membership, or check your current membership status.


Forward Fund


Fellowship_IM_Graphic.jpgSITC’s Fellowship Award program experienced a record number of applicants, from not just the United States, but all over the globe. Thank you to those who applied or encouraged an early career scientist to submit an application for these three awards. Fellowship winners also have the opportunity to showcase their work at the Annual Meeting alongside other luminaries in the field. Supporting the work of early career scientists will bring the field closer to making the word “cure” a reality for cancer patients everywhere.

Winners will be notified in April and announced on June 4 at the House of Blues Chicago event featuring SITC’s very own house band, The CheckPoints. More details will be announced about the House of Blues event in March.

Did you know? In just three years, the Forward Fund has raised over $1,000,000 to support early career scientists. Be the spark for innovation with a gift to the Forward Fund.