AACR Annual Meeting 2021: Week 2 Begins Monday

Week 2 of the AACR Annual Meeting 2021 kicks off Monday and will run through Friday, May 21. The first week of the meeting featured a robust scientific program, encompassing the latest advances in basic, clinical, and translational cancer research, as well as clinical trials of cancer treatments. Week 2 focuses on education, science policy, and professional development. Just like Week 1, this part of the program will take place in a virtual format. Here’s a look at what to expect.  

AM20 desktop

The educational program features more than 90 sessions focused on bringing attendees up to date on the latest concepts and techniques in areas across the full spectrum of cancer research. The program includes: Educational Sessions, designed to introduce an area of cancer research to investigators who may not work directly in that field; Methods Workshops, which focus specifically on teaching about methods used in various fields; and Meet-the-Expert Sessions, single-speaker sessions in which an expert is invited to present on a topic of their choice. 

Two sessions on Thursday, May 20, are dedicated to Fellows of the AACR Academy who died this past year. An Educational Session titled “Transcriptional Rewiring in Cancer” is dedicated to the memory of George F. Vande Woude, PhD, and a Methods Workshop called “Clinical Trial Design: Innovation and Controversies in Clinical Trials in Cancer” is dedicated to the memory of José Baselga, MD, PhD, a Past President of the AACR. 


Regulatory science and policy will be a major focus of Week 2. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a new light on the role of regulatory agencies in shaping public health decisions. The pandemic also forced some changes in cancer care, including delays or suspensions of cancer clinical trials. This topic will be addressed in a session on Monday, May 17, titled “Lessons Learned from COVID-19: Adaptations and Approaches for Trial Modernization.” Panelists will review some of the adaptations made to the clinical trials process during the pandemic and will discuss how clinical trials can continue to adapt for the future. 

The policy track will also feature a session on diversifying cancer clinical trials. The AACR has been a leader in the study of cancer health disparities, a well-documented problem with multifactorial roots. One contributing factor is that clinical trials often have insufficient enrollment of racial and ethnic minority patients, making it difficult to determine whether cancer treatments will be effective for all populations. This topic will be explored in a session on Friday, May 21. This session will review outcomes of minority patients enrolled in malignant hematological clinical trials, the importance of enrolling minorities in these clinical trials, and strategies to improve enrollment from a patient perspective. 

Also of interest, on Monday, May 17, the AACR will host the Virtual Cancer and Biomedical Research Career Fair. This event is for scientists at all career levels seeking opportunities within academia, government, or industry, and representatives from cancer and biomedical research organizations seeking to fill positions. You must register to attend the career fair.  

Week 2 also features this year’s scientific award lectures. For a comprehensive list of awardees, please see our press release.  


Unlike Week 1 of the Annual Meeting, which included more than 70 sessions that were available for advance viewing on demand, most of the content from Week 2 will be broadcast live, with a live question-and-answer period after each presentation. Please review the program planner for the most up-to-date schedule.  

If you are unable to catch a session at its scheduled time, recordings of all live sessions will be posted within two hours of the end of each session and will be available through June 21. The on-demand sessions from Week 1 will also remain available until June 21.  

As always, we encourage you to connect with colleagues and share your meeting experience via our social media channels. On Twitter, please use the hashtag #AACR21. Keep following Cancer Research Catalyst for further meeting coverage.