Driving Innovative Cancer Science to Patient Care

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

We are pleased to present the 2018 Annual Report of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The report highlights the AACR’s progress over the past year in support of our mission: to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication, collaboration, funding, and advocacy.

The theme of the AACR Annual Meeting 2018, “Driving Innovative Cancer Science to Patient Care,” is also the theme of this report. The report outlines all the ways in which AACR programs and initiatives support the efforts of investigators from the laboratory to the clinic to improve the lives of cancer patients.

As the report documents, 2018 was a spectacular year for the AACR, one that was marked by several milestones. The AACR Annual Meeting attracted a record number of participants, as we welcomed more than 22,500 scientists, clinicians, other health care professionals, survivors, and advocates to Chicago to share the latest breakthroughs in cancer science. The organization expanded its global outreach, collaborating with 16 different international scientific organizations to foster progress against cancer around the world. And AACR Project GENIE (Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange) doubled in size, welcoming 11 new participating institutions that are committed to its goal of delivering the benefits of precision medicine to cancer patients.

In addition to these achievements, in 2018 we witnessed the confirmation of the place of cancer immunotherapy among the pillars of cancer treatment—and celebrated a major accomplishment by one of our most distinguished members. AACR member and Fellow of the AACR Academy James P. Allison, PhD, FAACR—along with his colleague, Tasuku Honjo, MD, PhD—was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in October for his shared discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation. The day after the announcement, we were fortunate to have Dr. Allison attend the Fourth CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival. As he entered the ballroom for the morning session at the conference, Dr. Allison received a standing ovation from his friends, his colleagues, and the other senior investigators and early-career scientists in attendance.

It is fitting that Dr. Allison was at an AACR conference to celebrate the breakthroughs that led to his recognition by the Nobel committee, as the AACR is uniquely positioned to support such breakthroughs in all areas of cancer research. As a joint effort with the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT), and the European Academy of Tumor Immunology (EATI), the International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference is an example of the AACR’s global collaboration to advance cancer science. AACR conferences such as this one bring together the greatest minds in cancer research to share the latest developments in the field, and special conferences—such as the AACR’s first conference on Tumor Immunology in 2006—identify promising areas of inquiry and inspire scientists to pursue new approaches. And AACR grants and scientific achievement awards identify promising young investigators and accomplished senior scientists—including Dr. Allison in 2013, 2014, and 2015—and support their efforts to find the next breakthrough.

Continued progress against cancer requires continued inspiration and innovation. As outlined in this report, the AACR meets the challenge of driving innovative cancer science to patient care by pursuing an agenda that is scientifically bold, broad, and collaborative. Powered by the dedicated efforts of our 42,000 members, and guided by the best minds in cancer research, the AACR will continue translating knowledge into breakthroughs until our mission—the prevention and cure of all cancers—is realized.

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc)
AACR Chief Executive Officer

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR
AACR President 2018-2019

Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, FAACR
AACR President 2017-2018