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AACR annual meeting showcases developments in understanding and targeting cancers

SAN DIEGO -- Cutting-edge breakthroughs in molecular targeting, translational cancer research and cancer prevention will take center stage when more than 17,000 scientists from around the world gather at the San Diego Convention Center April 12-16 for the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Key data presented at the meeting will include late-breaking clinical trial findings related to high-profile, potentially life-saving cancer therapies in the pipeline.

"Cancer research is now a vast multidisciplinary field encompassing nearly all areas of science and technology. This is truly an extraordinary time," said William N. Hait, M.D., Ph.D., president of the AACR and senior vice president for Worldwide Hematology and Oncology Research and Development at Johnson & Johnson. "Today, basic cancer research drives cancer medicine and it is increasingly influenced by clinical observations. Clearly, these synergies are advancing our knowledge about cancer for the benefit of cancer patients, and the AACR is the catalyst for these discoveries."

The theme of the 2008 Annual Meeting is "Translating the Latest Discoveries into Cancer Prevention and Cures," and the opening plenary will feature insight and perspective from world leaders in cancer research on topics ranging from the cellular mechanisms of metastasis, to cancer prevention, to targeted drug therapies and clinical trials.

AACR's Annual Meeting attracts attendees including leading academic, industry and government scientists, as well as clinical oncologists, students, cancer survivors, advocates and other health care professionals. Such a diverse group facilitates a cross-disciplinary exchange of new ideas and collaborations. This year, more than 6,000 abstracts were selected for presentation, complementing an outstanding program of scientific and educational events.

Late-breaking plenary sessions in basic, translational and clinical cancer research will cover the latest advances from the laboratory and their translational potential to the clinic. Special sessions will also feature phase I and phase II studies of novel therapeutic agents in early stage clinical trials, as well as late-breaking phase III clinical trial data.

"We are in an exciting phase of cancer research. Collectively, we have built upon years of scientific advances and have accelerated the process of moving cancer research from basic to translational to clinical science, and back," said Eileen P. White, Ph.D., chairperson of the 2008 Program Committee and associate director for basic science at Rutgers University. "With advanced diagnostic technologies and new drugs and therapies we are saving more lives, extending the lives of cancer patients, and improving their quality of life."

To better communicate important science to the public, the AACR has selected nearly 50 abstracts for presentation by their authors in nine press briefings, each highlighting a critical or emerging area of cancer research. Featured press briefing topics include:

  • How personalized medicine is changing the cancer treatment landscape
  • New cancer drugs from early safety and efficacy studies to late-breaking phase III clinical trials
  • How diet and lifestyle choices may affect one's risk of cancer
  • The science of cancer health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities.

Additional briefings will focus on the latest research in cancer prevention, prognosis, diagnosis, immunotherapy and late-breaking clinical trials.

With the aim of inspiring the next generation of young cancer researchers, the AACR has invited nearly 300 local high school students from ten high schools to participate in "The Conquest of Cancer and the Next Generation," a day-long program on the floor of the AACR meeting that will feature educational lectures, a tour of poster displays and exhibits, and a networking reception. Many of these high school students will be paired with mentors among the AACR membership for guidance and education.


Contact: Staci Vernick Goldberg
American Association for Cancer Research

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