The opening ceremonies of AACR started with a sombre set by the Howard University Choir, and then launched into a ear splitting techno-infused video called “It’s Our Time” flashing some stats about cancer that for researchers are both uplifting (today the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia is 85% compared to 4% in the 1960s) and challenging (85% of adults with cancer are interested in clinical trials but only 3%-4% participate).
It was seriously loud enough to blow people out of the auditorium. But folks stayed on to watch the introductory speeches from Tyler Jacks, current AACR president and Elizabeth Blackburn, president elect. The focus of talks was clearly on basic research. Indeed, the theme of the meeting is, ‘Conquering cancer through discovery.’ We can expect a strong emphasis on the contributions of basic research to oncology as well as about the future of bringing basic research into the clinic.
Also, I should note a mistweet for all three people that actually pay attention to what I write on Twitter. This morning’s video ran a statistic from a Nature cancer genome paper on non-small-cell lung cancer that says a typical smoker gains one mutation for every 15 cigarettes smoked. I had stated that it was 15 mutations per cigarette. That would be just crazy!