AACR Annual Meeting 2022: We Can’t Wait to See You There

For the first time since 2019, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting is set to return to an in-person format. From April 8-13, the AACR Annual Meeting 2022 will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. With a theme of Decoding Cancer Complexity / Integrating Science / Transforming Patient Outcomes, the meeting will provide a forum for the latest advances across the full spectrum of cancer research.

After holding the Annual Meeting in a virtual format in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AACR leaders are looking forward to holding the meeting in person. While our attendees made the most of virtual meetings, with a stunning 61,000 registrants signing on for the 2020 Annual Meeting, we are eager for all in attendance to share the collective energy generated by face-to-face interactions and serendipitous meetings with colleagues.

“The virtual format was successful, in that it allowed researchers to present their findings and keep the field moving forward, despite the challenges of the pandemic,” said Pam Ballinger, the AACR’s Senior Director of Meetings and Exhibits. “But there is nothing like the excitement and the energy of a live meeting. We are thrilled to be able to hold a live meeting, and to do it safely.”

The AACR’s extensive plan for health and safety is detailed in a special section on the meeting website. You’ll want to check the website frequently for the latest information. Here are the highlights:

Vaccination policy

All attendees, exhibitors, and AACR staffers must all be fully vaccinated. There are no exceptions. The AACR has also requested that all Convention Center staff and hotel employees be vaccinated.

Attendees are asked to verify their vaccination status through CrowdPass, a HIPAA-compliant service. A full explanation of the verification process is available on our website. This step should be completed by April 6.

In New Orleans, vaccination status will be checked at entrances to Hall A and Hall G of the Convention Center. Once vaccination is confirmed, attendees can pick up their badge, which then serves as proof for the duration of the meeting.

Masking and more

Based on the most recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the AACR is recommending that speakers, attendees, Convention Center personnel, vendors, and AACR employees wear masks while in the Convention Center, on any AACR-sponsored shuttle bus, or at any AACR event. The AACR will supply each attendee with a KN95 mask.

The vaccination requirement and masking recommendations are intended to help attendees enjoy a safe and productive Annual Meeting. In addition to setting policies for AACR personnel, Ballinger and her staff have visited the meeting site and ensured that Convention Center staff are similarly cautious.

“Beyond what we’ve asked them to do, the Convention Center staff has been certified in COVID safety protocols. They want this to be an extremely successful and safe meeting. They are ready and willing to do what it takes to have a really great meeting,” Ballinger said.

The Convention Center will follow enhanced cleaning protocols, with 100 hand sanitizer stations, hourly cleaning of restrooms, and 30-minute breaks between sessions to allow for thorough cleaning of meeting rooms. Rooms will also be set up to allow attendees to maintain more personal space.

If you feel sick

We suggest that attendees take a COVID test before traveling to New Orleans. If it’s positive, you can switch your registration to virtual. If you feel sick while you are attending the AACR Annual Meeting, you are required to proceed as follows:

  • Wear a mask at all times when you are not in your hotel room.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Rapid onsite testing is available in the lobby of Hall H in the Convention Center. The AACR is providing a subsidy of $30 per test to reduce the cost to attendees. Both rapid antigen tests and rapid PCR tests will be available. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are recommended and can be made online.
  • If your test results come back positive, self-isolate in your hotel room.

The virtual component

Delegates who are attending virtually will use the same virtual meeting platform that we have used the last two years. All sessions held in the Convention Center will be livestreamed to the meeting platform; this includes all scientific sessions. Scientific sessions will be available on demand through July 13.

Eating, drinking, being merry

Preservation All Stars
The Preservation Hall All-Stars

Even with COVID mitigation efforts in place, the Annual Meeting will be infused with elements of New Orleans’ rich culture. At 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, April 10, the renowned Preservation Hall All-Stars will kick off the Opening Ceremony with New Orleans jazz.

When the conference wraps up, a bounty of local restaurants awaits. The legendary beignets from Café du Monde are within a short walking distance, with countless other delights also nearby. “The best thing about New Orleans is just walking around and exploring, discovering great neighborhoods, great food, and great music,” Ballinger said.

Meeting news

Following a successful debut in 2021, the AACR will again provide a daily report on the Annual Meeting, called AACR Meeting News. Registered attendees will receive a digital copy of the publication each day of the meeting, as well as several pre- and post-meeting editions, including the first issue, published on Monday. In addition to AACR Meeting News, Cancer Research Catalyst and Cancer Today will provide extensive coverage of the meeting.

As always, social media will be a dynamic means of sharing information and connecting with colleagues around the world. We encourage the use of social media as a way to forge connections; however, we also want to protect some researchers’ wishes of not having their preliminary and unpublished data shared openly on social channels or other publications. If you see a note on a presentation saying, “DO NOT POST,” you must respect the presenters’ request and refrain from posting any images from these designated slides or posters on social media.

Following the Annual Meeting on Twitter is another exciting way to keep track of the action, whether you are in New Orleans or participating virtually. Please use the hashtag #AACR22. You can also follow the AACR on Facebook and LinkedIn for further information and engagement.