Head and Neck Cancer Symposium Explores Latest Research Developments

in Oral Cancer Research Initiative
October 27th, 2017

On September 25, 2017, the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute co-hosted the third Head and Neck Cancer Symposium. This event, titled Advances in Head and Neck Cancer: Immunotherapy and Precision Medicine, brought together experts from across the country to present on current research, developments, challenges, and therapies in head and neck cancer. Over one hundred faculty, clinicians, researchers, residents, and students attended the symposium.

Dr. Ferris is speaking, with a powerpoint slide behind him entitled

Dr. Robert Ferris, keynote, presents at the Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

The symposium consisted of four sessions with presentations and interactive panel discussions: Immunotherapy: Checkpoint Regulation; Immunotherapy: Beyond Checkpoint Inhibitors; Precision Medicine Strategies for Cancer and the Microbiome; and Clinical Problems and Challenges. Dr. Robert L. Ferris, Endowed Professor and Chief in the Division of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, gave an exciting keynote address on Lessons Learned from the Tumor Microenvironment: Designing More Effective Immunotherapies and Combinations. Dr. Solita Chiayeng Wang, Director of the Oral and Salivary Cancer Biology Program at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), also gave brief remarks.

The symposium also included e-poster presentations on current head and neck cancer research. Symposium judges reviewed and discussed all the posters before selecting a winner, which was presented with a certificate and monetary prize near the end of the event. The poster prize was awarded to “Novel Stem Cell-Based Immunotherapy to Target Hypoxic Oral Cancer Stem Cells,” presented by Bidisha Pal of the Forsyth Institute.

“The symposium exposed the attendees to the latest research on head and neck cancer, particularly in the promising fields of immunotherapy and precision medicine,” said Dr. Maria Kukuruzinska, Associate Dean for Research at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. “We believe this event offered an excellent opportunity for researchers, scientists, and clinicians to learn, to network, and to strengthen all our efforts towards disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure.”

The day concluded with a reception, where attendees and presenters had an opportunity to mingle and connect. Feedback from participants has been very positive, and the next Head and Neck Cancer Symposium will be held in 2019.