Cancer meetings, like all such get-togethers these days, are virtual.

But do people show up? Have meaningful interactions? Learn anything? Have any fun?

Well, yes, to all!

The American Association for Cancer Research held its virtual annual meeting on Monday and Tuesday, and it was a wild success. With less than a month to transform a major in-person conference into an online setting, AACR leaders pulled it off. More than 61,000 registrants viewed nine clinical plenary sessions on-demand, for free.

The meeting included 102 oral presentations, all recorded in advance, and 126 posters. SWOG investigator Dr. Alain Algazi of UCSF was included in the opening clinical plenary, where he presented results of S1320, which put two melanoma treatment dosing schedules to the test. His findings were part of the official AACR press program for the meeting, and you can see his abstract here and read the SWOG press release here.

Dr. Algazi had a pretty good audience. According to AACR, the opening clinical plenary had 28,674 live views! More big numbers were clocked for the adoptive cell therapy plenary (26,118 live views) and the immunotherapy clinical trials plenary (21,210 live views). A session on COVID-19 and cancer, with the latest findings from global researchers, caused serious buzz on Twitter. 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, during the meeting.

Kudos to SWOG investigator Dr. Antoni Ribas, our former melanoma chair and the new AACR president, who played a major role in organizing the virtual meeting. That was no easy feat to pull off. There was even an online conference reception!

Much of SWOG’s own semi-annual meeting was held virtually last week, April 22-25, with 23 sessions that also got great reviews. Big audiences came out for the genitourinary, cancer care delivery, survivorship, and oncology research professional meetings – all with 100 or more attendees. Pharmaceutical sciences, digital engagement, and the breast committees also had strong showings. We also had meeting traffic on Twitter, with SWOG members sharing their views from quarantine.

I’m now eager for the ASCO virtual meeting at the end of May, and the second round of AACR virtual meetings in June. Great research can shine through, no matter the setting.

Other Recent Stories