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AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc) (ninth from right), and Past President Waun Ki Hong, MD, FAACR (eleventh from right) join the other invited speakers on stage at the Asia Pacific Cancer Conference in Seoul, Korea, in June 2017. Dr. Foti delivered a keynote lecture at the conference, while Dr. Hong delievered the Jin-Pok Kim Memorial Lecture.


Left to right: Conference cochair Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc, FAACR; AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc); AACR Past President Nancy E. Davidson, MD, FAACR; and cochair Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, DSc (hon), FAACR, welcome attendees to the 2017 AACR International Conference on New Frontiers in Cancer Research, held in Cape Town, South Africa.

In September 1989, the AACR organized its first meeting outside North America—a conference on The Cell Membrane and Cell Signals as Targets in Cancer Chemotherapy held at Queens’ College, Cambridge University, United Kingdom. Jointly sponsored with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the British Association for Cancer Research (BACR), the goal of the conference was to accelerate the development of new cancer treatments by bringing together scientists, chemists, pharmacologists, experimental chemotherapists, and clinicians to identify and exploit new targets.

Since that first international meeting, the AACR has continued and expanded its global outreach, driving innovative cancer science through collaborations with scientific organizations around the world. In 2017, that outreach included the launch of AACR conferences on two new continents.


In January, more than 150 participants joined cochairs Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc, FAACR, and Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, DSc (hon), FAACR (right), in Cape Town for the first AACR conference held in Africa. The attendees learned about the latest basic, translational, and clinical cancer research, with a special focus on cancers with a high rate of incidence in the region. Recognizing that infrastructure is as critical as innovation in attacking the cancer problem, the AACR worked with the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) to organize a pre-conference workshop on “Capacity Building for Cancer Research,” which addressed the challenges facing basic and clinical researchers in Africa.


Nearly 400 participants gathered in São Paulo in May for the first AACR conference held in Latin America, which was organized in cooperation with the Latin American Cooperative Oncology Group (LACOG). Conference cochairs Carlos L. Arteaga, MD, FAACR (far right), and Carlos Gil M. Ferreira, MD, PhD (near right), developed a program that bridged the gap between basic and clinical research, particularly for the cancers that are most prevalent in Latin America.

China: New Horizons in Cancer Research Conference

2016-2017 AACR President Nancy Davidson, MD, FAACR, and 2017 Annual Meeting Program Chair Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, worked with conference cochairs Chi Van Dang, MD, PhD (right), and Hongyang Wang, MD, PhD, to bring the best of the AACR Annual Meeting to Shanghai for the fourth edition of this landmark conference. More than 500 participants attended the conference in November, which brought international speakers and local experts together to share the latest cutting-edge research.

Joint Conferences

The AACR worked with seven international scientific organizations in 2017 to develop the following joint conferences and workshops:

  • Eighteenth ECCO-AACR-EORTC-ESMO Workshop on Methods in Clinical Cancer Research
    Zeist, The Netherlands, June 2017
  • Second EACR-AACR-SIC Special Conference: The Challenges of Optimizing Immuno- and Targeted Therapies—From Cancer Biology to the Clinic
    Florence, Italy, June 2017
  • Third CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference
    Mainz/Frankfurt, Germany, September 2017

Other International Collaborations

The AACR worked with four additional organizations to sponsor sessions at or provide program support for the following conferences:

  • AACR Annual Meeting
    Washington, D.C., April 2017
    The AACR partnered with the Japanese Cancer Association (JCA) to organize a Joint Symposium on “Cancer Metabolomics,” and with the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology (CSCO) to develop a Joint Symposium on “Tumor Microenvironment.”
  • International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma
    Lugano, Switzerland, June 2017
    The AACR worked with the ICML to develop three highlights of the scientific program:
    • In collaboration with the European School of Oncology and the ICML, the AACR organized a pre-conference workshop on “Design of Clinical Trials: Biological and Clinical Endpoints in the Design of Future Clinical Trials.”
    • AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), and ICML President Franco Cavalli, MD, co-chaired a Joint Session on “Cancer Immunotherapy.”
    • The AACR sponsored the inaugural Gianni Bonadonna Memorial Lecture. Named in honor of Gianni Bonadonna, MD, an AACR member and co-founder of ICML, the lecture featured Margaret A. Shipp, MD, discussing “Genetic signatures and targetable pathways in lymphoid malignancies.”
  • Asia Pacific Cancer Conference
    Seoul, Korea, June 2017
    AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), delivered a Keynote Lecture on “The global cancer research landscape: Translating discoveries into cures.”
  • CSCO Annual Meeting
    Xiamen, China, September 2017
    The AACR partnered with CSCO to develop a Joint Symposium on “Microenvironment and Cancer Immunotherapy.”
  • JCA Annual Meeting
    Yokohama, Japan, September 2017
    The AACR partnered with JCA to develop a Joint Symposium on “Tumor Immune Microenvironment and Novel Frameworks toward Precision Medicine.”

Inaugural AACR China Industry Roundtable

Extending its mission to support collaboration, in May the AACR hosted a meeting of more than twenty Chinese pharma, biotech, diagnostics, and contract research companies in Shanghai. These industry leaders discussed the challenges and opportunities in cancer research in China and identified areas of focus for which the AACR could develop impactful programs and initiatives in the region.

First AACR Conference on Each Continent

North America

1907 (First AACR meeting; New York, New York)


1989 (AACR-BACR-EORTC Joint Conference on The Cell Membrane and Cell Signals as Targets in Cancer Chemotherapy; Cambridge, England)


1994 (AACR-Academia Sinica Joint Conference on Modern Developments in Cancer Therapeutics; Taipei, Taiwan)


1997 (AACR-Lorne Cancer Conference Joint Conference on Growth Factors, Signaling, and Cancer; Lorne, Victoria, Australia)


2017 (AACR International Conference on New Frontiers in Cancer Research; Cape Town, South Africa)

South America

2017 (AACR International Conference on Translational Cancer Medicine; São Paulo, Brazil)