AACR Annual Meeting 2023 Overview: Advancing the Frontiers of Cancer Science and Medicine

This global conference in April will bring together thousands of cancer researchers, physician-scientists, policymakers, advocates, and others to advance the research that is saving lives every day.

The AACR’s Annual Meeting 2023 will be the crossroads of the cancer research world April 14-19, bringing together thousands of experts from across the cancer research continuum gather to share the latest developments in virtually every aspect of cancer science. 

“We’re really excited about the program for the Annual Meeting this year, and mostly because it is so comprehensive,” said Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia and AACR Annual Meeting 2023 Program Committee Chair. 

“From cutting-edge basic science and translational science all the way into population science, we’re going to learn about trial results that will change practice,” he said. “And we’re going to hear about new drugs and new formulations that will be future therapies as we go forward.”

Twenty-four topic tracks ranging from bioinformatics and global health to prevention and early detection wind through the six plenaries, 42 major symposia, and hundreds of presentations and poster sessions over six days packed with leading-edge cancer science. 

“AACR has played and continues to play a very critical role in this country and around the world, and bringing cancer researchers together for a purpose, which is to improve the lives of patients with cancer and prevent cancer forming in those at risk,” Dr. Vonderheide noted. 

The theme of the meeting is “Advancing the Frontiers of Cancer Science and Medicine.”

“We included the word ‘frontier’ in the theme of our meeting, and we did that intentionally because that is really where modern cancer research is,” Dr. Vonderheide said. “We’re on the frontier, and it also gives us the mandate to think toward the future. Where are we going? How can we use our science and research to improve the lives of patients with cancer even more? It’s an incredibly exciting time.”

A few among the many major topics Vonderheide sees at the meeting are:

  • KRAS, a notorious oncogene (a cancer-causing gene), is implicated in about 30 percent of all human cancers. Decades of research have led to major breakthroughs in the development of therapies targeting KRAS. This will be the topic of the first plenary session of the Meeting and a major topic in several other sessions. 
  • Interception is the process of detecting cancer at a very early stage, even before it becomes malignant. “If we could accomplish cancer interception more than we have up to now, it will be a major breakthrough for patients with cancer and those at risk,” Dr. Vonderheide said. 
  • New ways to develop anticancer therapies, including “RNA engineering or protein engineering or understanding protein folding, or combinations like antibody drug conjugates,” he said. “There has just been an incredible amount of new drug engineering, and we’re going to hear about that throughout the meeting.”

Dr. Vonderheide is expecting great interest in the reporting of fresh, previously unpublished research results, particularly from young investigators and junior investigators at poster sessions. 

“The future of cancer research will be at the meeting,” he said. 

The AACR has always taken a “massively comprehensive” approach, he said, to the topics considered at its Annual Meeting, one of the largest cancer conferences in the world.

“This is a meeting where all ideas come together. Many different disciplines, many different professions, many different types of institutions,” Dr. Vonderheide said.  “AACR has always driven the way, has always been a leader and has always had a very open approach to bringing everyone together. That is ultimately the purpose of the Annual Meeting – come, bring your ideas, and let’s discuss.”