SITC, AACR leaders brief members of US Congress on Immuno-Oncology

Seeking to ensure government funding levels of cancer research are protected, leading experts from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) and American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) brought their advocacy campaign to Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

SITC President Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD spoke at the event, which was chaired by AACR President-elect (and past SITC At-Large Director) Elizabeth A. Jaffee, MD. Entitled Progress in Immuno-Oncology: Delivering Hope and Clinical Benefit to Cancer Patients, the briefing included a short list of experts in immunotherapy who spoke before members of Congress. The session sought to highlight the latest innovations in cancer immunotherapy research and treatments, and the hope they are bringing to patients, but to also explain the challenges that remain ahead including the need for consistent funding for government agencies such as the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

During the briefing, Dr. Butterfield spoke of the work taking place in the development of cancer vaccines and the role they could have in combination approaches and long-term prevention of the disease, but she stressed that the future of the research must be supported to ensure training and opportunities are available for young investigators.

“It is difficult to attract early career scientists into the research lab without knowing that the research center’s funding has been secured and is stable,” Butterfield said. “Government funding of cancer research must remain strong to incentivize young investigators to remain in the field of cancer immunotherapy research and further enable institutions the ability to employ these scientists in their labs.”

Joining Drs. Butterfield and Jaffee at the briefing were:

  • Bernard A. Fox, PhD – Past SITC President; Chief, Molecular and Tumor Immunology, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute; Oregon Health and Sciences University
  • Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD – Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute, Professor of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences; Past SITC At-Large Director
  • Daniel Chen, MD, PhD – Vice President, Global Head of Cancer Immunotherapy Development, Genentech; Co-Chair of the SITC Industry Committee
  • Stefanie Joho – Cancer Research and Patient Advocate

SITC would like to thank AACR for their collaboration on this initiative and the society looks forward to continuing its advocacy for greater investments in cancer immunotherapy research in the future.

Stay tuned to SITC Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT for additional coverage of Wednesday’s Congressional briefing and future policy news from the society. Have an immunotherapy research or funding story to share? Log in to your SITC CONNECT account to join the conversation in the Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT Open Forum.