Skip to main content

NCI at AACR Virtual Meeting II

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) participated in the two-part American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Annual Meeting for 2020. The second part was held June 22-24, 2020, and featured the NCI Director's Address, awards and lectures, a special session on NCI funding for research and training, and several presentations and poster sessions featuring NCI experts. Registration was free and provided access to this live and on-demand content. 

Subscribe for the latest information on presentations and resources from NCI at AACR 2020 and future meetings.

For those who were unable to participate in the AACR Virtual Meeting I (April 27-28), we encourage you to learn more about NCI’s presence at the conference.

NCI Director's Address

NCI Director, Ned Sharpless, MD, presented the NCI Director’s Address, “Managing the Now, Focused on the Future,” which included a live Q&A, moderated by AACR’s immediate Past President, Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, FAACR.

During his presentation, Dr. Sharpless discussed NCI’s efforts to address racial inequality in cancer research, the potential long-term impact of COVID-19 on cancer mortality, and NCI’s response to ensuring commitment to sustaining and accelerating progress in cancer research. He shared several new studies and funding opportunities that are currently available through NCI - including SARS-CoV-2 Serology research, compassionate use trial of tocilizumab, and the NCCAPS study. Finally, Dr. Sharpless highlighted some recent advances that have been made in cancer research.

View presentations slides in PDF

NCI Director’s Address at AACR: Managing the Now, Focused on the Future

NCI Awards and Lectures

Douglas R. Lowy, M.D.

NCI principal deputy director, Dr. Doug Lowy, received the 2020 AACR Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of his leadership of the NCI during his tenure as the acting director. His presentation covered his work in developing the technology for HPV vaccines with Dr. John T. Schiller, as well as current studies to improve HPV vaccine uptake in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, Dr. Lowy highlighted various initiatives and programs that have been established at NCI since he began his first term as acting director in 2015 – including the Precision Medicine Initiative in Oncology, Cancer Moonshot, the National Center for Cryo-electron Microscopy at the Frederick National Lab, and more.

Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D.

Chief of the Surgery Branch at NCI and senior investigator at the NCI Center for Cancer Research, Dr. Steven Rosenberg, was honored with the 2020 AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology. This award recognized Dr. Rosenberg’s pioneering discoveries in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

photo of Patricia Steeg, Ph.D.
Patricia S. Steeg, Ph.D.

Co-director of the Office of Translational Resources and associate director of the Center for Cancer Research at the NCI, Dr. Patricia Steeg, received the 2020 AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship. Dr. Steeg was honored with this lectureship for her groundbreaking research on breast cancer metastasis.

TCGA Team Award

The AACR recognized The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) founding members and current project team with 2020 Team Science Awards, which was presented during a Data Resources for Cancer Research session.



Special Session: NCI Funding for Research and Training

This session featured four NCI experts who provided an overview of NCI’s grant process, funding mechanisms, and training opportunities - such as fellowships, career development awards, and institutional training grants - to help attendees understand how NCI makes funding available to the research community and supports the development of the next generation of cancer researchers.

NCI COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study

NCI recently launched a national, longitudinal study of COVID-19 in people with cancer. The study, named NCI COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study (NCCAPS), will help scientists answer key questions about COVID-19’s impact on cancer patients, as well as cancer’s impact on the course of COVID-19. The study aims to enroll 2,000 patients at more than 1,000 sites across the United States – with NCI encouraging any and all NCI-funded clinical trial sites to participate, especially sites reaching minority, underserved, and rural populations and sites with a high incidence of COVID-19.

NCI hosted a webinar to share more information about this study, following the AACR Annual Meeting.

For more information about NCCAPS, check out the recent Cancer Currents blog post, How Does COVID-19 Affect People with Cancer? NCCAPS Will Help Find Out.

Additional Presentations and Poster Sessions Featuring NCI Staff

View the AACR program for more information and to view poster sessions from NCI experts.

All times listed below in EDT.

June 22, 2020
Presentation Title and Time NCI Presenter

Exceptional Responders and Long-Term Survivors
Understanding exceptional responders (2:31-2:51 p.m.)

Alice P. Chen

Carcinogens at Home: Science and Pathways to Prevention
Pesticides in the field and in the home: What do we know about cancer risk? (2:08-2:28 p.m.)

Mary H. Ward
June 23, 2020
Presentation Title and Time NCI Presenter

Metastatic Mechanisms: New Insights
A novel peptide based microRNA nanoparticle hydrogel composite attenuates mesothelioma growth (10:05-10:15 a.m.)

Anand Singh

Adoptive Cell Therapy
Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) recognize a unique and diverse number of non-synonymous somatic mutations in patients with metastatic breast cancer (9:35-9:45 a.m.)

Nikolaos Zacharakis

Novel Immunotherapies and Mechanisms
Complete regression of murine breast tumors by hetIL-15FC monotherapy correlates with infiltration by T, NK, cDC1 cells and a novel population of dendritic cells (9:05-9:15 a.m.)

Dimitris Stellas

New Insight from Classic Epidemiologic Factors
Commute patterns, residential traffic-related air pollution, and lung cancer risk in the prospective UK Biobank cohort study (10:05-10:15 a.m.)

Jason Yat-Yang Wong

Metabolism and Cancer
Targeting serine metabolism impairs tumor growth in preclinical models of Ewing sarcoma (10:35-10:45 a.m.)

Sameer Issaq
June 24, 2020
Presentation Title and Time NCI Presenter

Innovative Approaches and Tools to Study the Tumor Microenvironment
Intratumor regulatory T cells prevent IFN-gamma-dependent tumor vessel regression and can be selectively targeted by anti-CD25 near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (9:50-10:00 a.m.)

Yutaka Kurebayashi

Infection and Immune Factors

Jill Koshiol (Chair)

Minkyo Song

Eric Engels

Novel Mechanisms: From Tumor Suppression to Identification of Novel Therapeutics
Epigenetic reactivation of the DLC1 tumor suppressor protein is a new approach for cancer treatment (10:20-10:30 a.m.)


Brajendra Tripathi
Clinical Trial Design: Part 4: Trial Design for Early Cancer Detection
Biomarkers for early-phase cancer prevention/immunoprevention trials (4:00-4:20 p.m.)


Asad Umar

Funding Opportunities Available

Below are some of the open funding opportunities available at the NCI. We encourage you to explore these opportunities and reach out to contacts listed for more information. 

  • Posted:

If you would like to reproduce some or all of this content, see Reuse of NCI Information for guidance about copyright and permissions. In the case of permitted digital reproduction, please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source and link to the original NCI product using the original product's title; e.g., “NCI at AACR Virtual Meeting II was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.”