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AACR Virtual Annual Meeting I Draws More than 61,000 Registrants 

Two-day Historic Online Scientific Meeting Featured 102 Oral Presentations and 126 Posters 

PHILADELPHIA – The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is pleased to announce that its first-ever Virtual Annual Meeting attracted a vast worldwide audience, with more than 61,000 registrants from 140 countries. Held April 27 and 28, the momentous two-day meeting featured practice-changing clinical trials, innovative basic and translational research, and a first-of-its-kind COVID-19 and Cancer session with high-impact data from pandemic hot spots. 

In response to the rapidly escalating COVID-19 pandemic, the AACR quickly reimagined its Annual Meeting 2020, originally scheduled as an in-person meeting to be held in San Diego, April 24-29. In early April, the AACR Board of Directors announced plans for two Virtual Annual Meetings: 

  • AACR Virtual Annual Meeting I, April 27-28, 2020 
  • AACR Virtual Annual Meeting II, June 22-24, 2020 

“The AACR was deeply saddened to have to terminate the AACR Annual Meeting 2020, but safeguarding the health and safety of everyone who was planning to attend and the patients and communities they serve are always the organization’s highest priorities,” said Elaine Mardis, PhD, FAACR, AACR President. “To provide a venue for the compelling cancer science we had identified for the in-person Annual Meeting, we made the decision to hold two Virtual Annual Meetings. We are delighted that the first Virtual Annual Meeting has been an overwhelming success, achieving our goal of disseminating groundbreaking research discoveries to spur collaboration, spark new ideas, and drive progress for patients.” 

The cutting-edge scientific program for the AACR Virtual Annual Meeting I focused on clinical trials so that these vitally important data could be released in a timely manner for maximum patient benefit. Research was presented in nine clinical plenary sessions, including an extremely well-received session on COVID-19 and Cancer with presentations of the latest findings in this area; 10 minisymposia covering topics from across the spectrum of basic and translational cancer research; and three New Drugs on the Horizon symposia highlighting first disclosures of innovative small molecules and biologics that have recently entered phase I clinical trials. The meeting included a total of 102 oral presentations and 126 posters. 

“The AACR Annual Meeting is the premier cancer research meeting in the world, and I am immensely excited that the landmark AACR Virtual Annual Meeting was so enthusiastically received by the cancer community,” said Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, FAACR, Program Chair for the AACR Annual Meeting 2020 and AACR President-Elect. “We were excited to provide a forward-looking scientific program that included what was a spectacular session on COVID-19 and Cancer with presentations from true heroes of cancer research. It is imperative that the AACR stay at the leading-edge of this evolving field of cancer research, and we are looking forward to hosting an AACR Virtual Conference dedicated to this topic over the summer.” 

The Virtual Meeting format gives the more than 61,000 registrants the opportunity to view sessions on-demand at any time. Of note, the top three sessions based on live views were:  

Opening Clinical Plenary – 28,674 live views 

Adoptive Cell Therapy Clinical Plenary – 26,118 live views 

Immunotherapy Clinical Trials 1 Clinical Plenary – 21,210 live views 

The official meeting hashtag #AACR20 was used in more than 7,000 tweets from more than 2,000 Twitter users, resulting in more than 35 million impressions from Sunday, April 26, to Wednesday morning, April 29.   

AACR Virtual Annual Meeting I sessions will be available for on-demand viewing through the virtual meeting platform until the beginning of the AACR Virtual Annual Meeting II in late June.  

The AACR Virtual Annual Meeting II, June 22-24, will feature the originally planned Opening Plenary Session that explores the range of impactful cancer research and clinical translation; award lectures from individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the cancer field; a special talk from National Cancer Institute Director Ned Sharpless, MD; and thousands of proffered papers in minisymposia and on an e-poster platform. 

“I am extremely proud that the American Association for Cancer Research has been able to effectively adapt the comprehensive scientific program originally planned for our in-person AACR Annual Meeting 2020 to a virtual format,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “The resounding success of the milestone AACR Virtual Annual Meeting I is a testament to the hard work of many individuals. I want to recognize the exceptional contributions of our outstanding President, Dr. Elaine Mardis, and visionary President-Elect and Annual Meeting Program Chair, Dr. Toni Ribas, who dedicated countless hours to make this meeting the foremost cancer research event. It is imperative that we continue to disseminate the latest groundbreaking cancer research findings rapidly and widely during these challenging times because patients with cancer around the world are counting on us to maintain the rapid pace of lifesaving progress.”