Greetings from Shenzhen, China, where the Fifth AACR New Horizons in Cancer Research (NHiCR) Conference is now underway. The event’s aim is to create and further a global forum for the communication and exchange of knowledge and latest findings in basic, translational, and clinical research and to foster cooperation and network development, leading to a decrease in global cancer incidence and mortality. The conference is co-organized through the collaborative efforts of AACR, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, The State Key Laboratory of Chemical Oncogenomics, and Shenzhen Bay Laboratory.
The conference’s inaugural ceremony attracted over 200 attendees under the leadership of NHiCR co-chairs, Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, of Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Care Center in Baltimore and Hong Wu, MD, PhD, School of Life Science in Beijing.
The 2019 NHiCR features a rich mix of plenaries, scientific sessions, and posters focusing on specific cancers as well as emerging areas of research with applications across disease types: drug development, epigenetics, genomics, immunotherapy, metabolism, and prevention as well as dedicated sessions on gastrointestinal, liver, lung, nasopharyngeal, and gender-specific cancers.
The conference’s opening keynote speaker was Dongxin Lin, PhD, a researcher in Cancer Genetics and Molecular Epidemiology with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, China. Lin spoke on the topic of genome alterations and precision medicine of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). His talk was especially relevant as esophageal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in China.
More than 90 percent of esophageal cancer cases in China are squamous cell carcinoma, whereas in Western countries, most esophageal cancers are adenocarcinoma. Dr. Lin’s work involved 10,000 ESCC patients and more than 10,000 frequency-matched controls from northern, middle, eastern, and southern parts of China. His research group conducted genome-wide screening followed by multiple-step validations, identifying variants in 18 genes associated with risk of developing ESCC.
Cancer incidence, suffering, and mortality are not constrained to national boundaries. The inaugural ceremony and keynote set the stage for a remarkable event dedicated to highlighting discoveries in the major areas of cancer research, and improving global conditions so that more lives can be saved from cancer.
Drs. Jaffee and Wu acknowledged and thanked the many partners, sponsors, and supporters who contributed over the past year to the event’s planning. They noted the volunteer talents and efforts of the program committee members, Tak W. Mak, PhD, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, University of Toronto Health Network; Mao Mao, MD, PhD, SeekIn, Inc., Shenzhen, China; Hongyang Wang, MD, PhD, National Center for Liver Cancer, Shanghai; and Zhen Yang, PhD, Peking University, Shenzhen, China. In addition to those individuals, the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology and the Chinese Anti Cancer Association endorsed the conference, and Bristol-Myers Squibb provided material support. Also, the conference features partnerships with print, broadcast, and digital media in China to promote conference scientific content and impact.
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