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PICI @ SITC 2018 Annual Meeting #SITC2018

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy is a proud sponsor of the 33rd annual Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) annual meeting, being held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., from November 9 through November 11, with pre-meeting workshops starting November 7.

The SITC annual meeting is billed as the largest conference solely focused on cancer immunotherapy in the United States. Leading Parker Institute researchers will present their work on CAR-T therapy, the microbiome and cancer immuno-oncology connection, mechanisms to overcome immunotherapy resistance and immunotherapy for solid tumors, among other hot topics.

Crystal Mackall, M.D., Parker Institute director at Stanford Medicine, is one of the meeting’s four organizers this year.


PICI Investigator Philip Greenberg to Deliver Smalley Memorial Award Lecture
Nov. 10, 2018, 7:45-8:30 a.m.

Philip Greenberg, M.D., a Parker Institute investigator at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, will be honored with the Richard V. Smalley Memorial Award at the meeting and deliver his keynote lecture Saturday. The society’s most prestigious award honors those who have been pioneers in their work and made a notable impact. Dr. Greenberg’s lecture is titled “Engineering T cells to Effectively Target Tumors and Overcome Obstacles to Achieving Tumor Eradication.”

UCLA Student in PICI Lab Wins Presidential Award for Young Investigators
Nov. 10, 2018, 2-2:15 p.m.

Gabriel Abril Rodriguez, a doctoral candidate at UCLA in the lab of Parker Institute Director Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D., will be awarded the SITC Presidential Award, the highest honor for young investigators. He will present his research about PAK4 inhibition reversing immune cell exclusion and overcoming resistance to checkpoint blockade.


The Impact of the Microbiome on Cancer Therapy
Nov. 8, 2018, 8- 9:45 a.m.

This pre-meeting workshop is sponsored in part by the Parker Institute

Jennifer Wargo, M.D., a Parker Institute scientist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will present on the “Microbiome as a Biomarker and a Therapeutic Target.” Laurence Zitvogel, M.D, Ph.D., of the Institut Gustav Roussy and Thomas Gajewski, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, are also slated to present. 

Can CAR T cells Overcome and Influence Resistance to Other Treatment Modalities
Nov. 7, 2018, 4 p.m.

This pre-meeting discussion features Carl June, M.D., Parker Institute director at the University of Pennsylvania, Gordon Freeman, Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Alan Korman, Ph.D., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Daniel Chen, M.D., Ph.D., IMG Biosciences and Marcela Maus, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital. This is part of the longer workshop on immune escape that begins at 2 p.m.

Cell-Based Therapies for Solid Tumors
Nov. 10, 2018, 8:30-11:05 a.m.    

Crystal Mackall, M.D., Parker Institute director at Stanford Medicine, co-chairs this session, which will also feature Steven Rosenberg, MD., Ph.D. of the National Cancer Institute, who will speak about tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, or TILs.

Advances in Immunotherapy of Genitourinary Tumors
Nov. 10, 2018, 3:35-4:55 p.m.

Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., Parker Institute co-director at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, co-chairs this session and will present, “From the Clinic to the Lab: Investigating Response and Resistance Mechanisms to Immune Checkpoint Therapy.” Lawrence Fong, M.D., Parker Institute co-director at the University of California, San Francisco, will be presenting on using an A2AR agonist for renal cell carcinoma.

Advances in Immunotherapy of Gynecologic Malignancies
Nov. 10, 2018, 3:40-4:05 p.m.

Dmitry Zamarin, M.D., Ph.D., a Parker Institute investigator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will be presenting on immuno-oncology for gynecological cancers.

  • “The gut microbiome of metastatic melanoma patients initiating systemic therapy is influenced by host factors including diet, probiotic and antibiotic use” (P505)

The use of probiotics was linked to a negative impact on gut flora diversity and response to checkpoint inhibitors in this study. Researchers also found that a high fiber diet was linked to a better response to anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibition treatment for cancer. Parker Institute Research Scientist Christine Spencer, Ph.D., is co-first author. Jennifer Wargo, M.D., Parker Institute investigator at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is senior author.

The Parker Institute is collaborating with Dr. Wargo on a developing clinical trial to test whether influencing the microbiome makeup can affect patient response to checkpoint blockade treatments.

  • “The personal vaccine, NEO-PV-01 with anti-PD1, induces neoantigen-specific de novo tumor-related immunity in patients with advanced cancer” (O7)

Parker Institute Investigator Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, is first author on this research. Parker Institute investigators Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai and Matthew Hellmann, M.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are coauthors. 

Events times and dates are subject to change per the event organizers. For the latest information, visit the SITC website to view the SITC 2018 Annual Meeting Schedule.

MEDIA: For members of the media seeking more information on Parker Institute research, please contact Shirley Dang at or 415-930-4385.