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iFIT part of AACR Annual Meeting 2022

iFIT part of the AACR Annual Meeting - the largest cancer conference in the world.

Exactly one week ago, this year's American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting ended in New Orleans from April 8 - 13, 2022. We look back on an incredibly intense and exciting time in "The Big Easy", which was marked by numerous exciting presentations, conversations, interviews and talks around the future of cancer research. After more than two years of corona-induced abstinence, the AACR was the first major conference with approximately 14,000 attendees that our cluster participated in. Researchers attended from all over the world, from a total of 74 countries and six continents. As part of the initiative "Cancer Research in Germany" initiated by the German Research Foundation (DFG), we were part of a collaborative effort of German research institutions presenting cancer research "made in Germany". Together with the DFG, the German Cancer Research Center, Fraunhofer ITEM, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service, we were one of nearly 500 exhibitors presenting new innovative approaches, therapies and findings related to cancer research. At our joint booth, we were able to inform numerous interested parties about our cluster, our research projects and goals, and convince them of Germany and Tübingen as a excellent research location.

Award winning poster sessions

We were not only present on the exhibition floor. Our scientists started the poster sessions on Sunday with numerous posters to present their latest scientific findings on molecular therapies, immunotherapies and multiparametric imaging to interested researchers and to talk shop about their results. We would like to highlight one young scientist in particular, the group with Christian Tegeler (first photo from left) and the poster "Clinical implications of HLA expression and immunopeptidome-presented tumor antigens in ovarian carcinoma". For their work around a potential new target for antibody and vaccine treatment of ovarian cancer, he received the "AACR-Margaret Foti Foundation Scholar-in-Training Award" on behalf of the group. This was presented to him by none other than the Chairman of the Board of the AACR, Mrs. Margaret Foti. The award recognizes outstanding young researchers for their meritorious work in pediatric, ovarian, pancreatic or lung cancer research.

Vaccine candidate CoVac-1 and "Meet the Scientist"

Tuesday held several highlights in store. It started with the third and last press conference of the AACR, where young scientist Claudia Tandler (first photo, second from left) had the great honor to present the preliminary research results of the CoVac-1 vaccine candidate under development by Prof. Dr. Juliane Walz and her research group to the journalists. The preliminary results of the study, which is currently in phase II, give reason to hope that there will be a vaccine in the future that will trigger a strong immune response against COVID-19, especially in cancer patients and people with immunosuppression. Before and after the press conference, Ms. Tandler and Ms. Walz gave several interviews regarding the vaccine candidate. Directly after the press conference, a "Meet the Scientist" event was held at our joint booth for interested scientists who are thinking about continuing their research career in Germany. Our two spokespersons Prof. Dr. Bernd Pichler and Prof. Dr. Lars Zender as well as junior scientist Dr. Marissa Dubbelaar (first photo from the right) answered questions and gave detailed insights into our Cluster of Excellence. With a little luck, we hope to welcome some new faces in Tübingen in the future. At the end of the day, Claudia Tandler again gave a scientific talk on the CoVac-1 study in the context of the "COVID-19 and Cancer" symposium.

Goodbye New Orleans and hello Orlando?

Wednesday, the last day of the conference, was again characterized by interesting conversations at our joint booth, before it was time to pull down the tents at 12:30 p.m. and start the long journey home towards Tübingen. We spent an extremely exciting and interesting time in New Orleans, with many good conversations and new contacts. It has been shown how important personal encounters and meetings are. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the DFG for making the joint appearance under the umbrella of "Cancer Research in Germany" possible and look forward to a potential repeat in Orlando in April 2023!

The "Cancer Research in Germany" team (from left to right): Brian Craft (American Friends of the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation), Anke Deggerich (DFG), Sonja Schaffartzik (DFG), Jürgen Berger (DKFZ), Eva Enzinger (iFIT), Christopher Jakobs (Fraunhofer ITEM), Steven Pohl (iFIT), Hanni Geist (DAAD), Bettina Schuffert (DFG) and Georg Bechtold (DFG).

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