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ORLANDO –  Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania will present data on the latest advances across the full spectrum of cancer research at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2023 from April 14-19 in Orlando, Florida. Follow us on Twitter @PennMDForum and @PennCancer for updates.

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Expert Interviews

Experts from the Perelman School of Medicine are available to comment on a wide range of topics in cancer science and medicine during the meeting on site and by video call, telephone, or email. To arrange interviews, please contact Meagan Raeke at or 267-693-6224.

News Releases

Four Abramson Cancer Center Researchers Receive Top AACR Awards.

AACR: Preclinical Study Identifies New Target for Ovarian Cancer

Key Presentations

Penn Medicine researchers will present four plenary sessions – including remarks from the 2023 Annual Meeting Program Committee Chair Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, in the opening and closing sessions – three mimisympoium, 18 posters, and more than two dozen invited talks. Key presentations are highlighted below.


  • B7-H4 is an actionable target in treatment-resistant high grade serous ovarian carcinoma (Abstract 1133)
    Research led by Sarah Gitto, PhD, instructor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Fiona Simpkins, MD, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that B7-H4 was overexpressed in 92 percent of high grade serous ovarian carcinoma tumors at diagnosis and maintained high levels even following treatment. A novel antibody-drug conjugate that targets B7-H4 showed strong anti-tumor response in pre-clinical models, including those resistant to standard of care therapies. Gitto will present the findings during a minisymposium session on Sunday, April 16 at 3 p.m. ET in Room W331.
  • Breast cancer risk in the general population varies based on mutation type and location (Abstract 1183)
    By analyzing data from more than 30,000 breast cancer cases and controls, a team led by Mwangala Akamandisa, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, and Katherine Nathanson, MD, the Pearl Basser Professor for BRCA-Related Research, found that the specific type and location of mutations within BRCA2 and CHEK2 genes should be considered during genetic counseling about breast cancer risk. Akamandisa will present the findings during a minisymposium session on Sunday, April 16 at 3 p.m. ET in Room W304 E-H.
  • New insight into mechanisms of prostate cancer cell growth (Abstract 3444)
    Research led by Andrea Detlefsen, a predoctoral fellow in Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, and Trevor Penning, PhD, director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, found a mechanism responsible for resistance to androgen receptor signaling inhibitors in primary and metastatic models of prostate cancer. The enzyme AKR1C3 converts DHEA-S, which plays an important role in making testosterone, into potent androgens that drive prostate cancer growth and treatment resistance. Detlefsen will present the findings during a minisymposium session on Monday, April 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET in Room W311 E-H.

Clinical Trials in Progress and Late-Breaking Posters:

  • Porcine brain-derived hydrogel carriers for intratumoral administration of cellular immunotherapies enhances anti-tumor potential in post-resection GBM (Abstract LB026)
    The poster session is on Sunday, April 16 from 1:30 to 5 p.m. ET in Section 35.
  • Armored bicistronic CAR T cells with dominant-negative TGF-β receptor II to alleviate antigenic heterogeneity and suppressive immune microenvironment in glioblastoma (Abstract LB097)
    The poster session is on Monday, April 17 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET in Section 35.
  • An open label, dose escalation, phase 1 study of AT101, a novel CD19-directed CAR-T cell therapy targeting a membrane-proximal epitope of CD19, in patients with relapsed or refractory B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Abstract CT130)
    The poster session is on Monday, April 17 from 1:30 to 5 p.m. ET in Section 46.

Invited Speakers on Topics of Interest:

  • AI for Drug Discovery: Many proteins that play key roles in cancer are considered difficult drug targets, if not entirely undruggable, due to an apparent lack of pockets where small molecules can bind. That could change as artificial intelligence makes it possible to more easily identify hidden or “cryptic” pockets. Gregory Bowman, PhD, a professor of Biochemistry andBiophysics and Bioengineering, developed a neural network, called PocketMiner, that found up to 50 percent of proteins thought to be undruggable may actually be targetable through cryptic pockets. Bowman will present “What if all your favorite proteins are druggable?” in a plenary session on Wednesday, April 19 at 8 a.m. ET in W Hall A2-3.
  • Immune Health: As the founding director of the Immune Health® project at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, E. John Wherry, PhD, chair of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, is leading efforts to define and monitor individual “immune health” fingerprints that can provide insight for interception, diagnosis, and treatment for cancer and other diseases. With advances in data science and analysis, immune health is the next frontier in personalized medicine. Wherry will present “Immune cells as 'biosensors' and the basis for immune health profiling of cancer and beyond” in an Advances in Diagnostics and Therapeutics session on Tuesday, April 18 at 12:30 p.m. ET in the Tangerine Ballroom 3-4 (WF3-4).
  • FLASH Radiation: The future of radiation therapy may include delivery of ultra-high dose rates in less than a second to reduce radiation-induced toxicities. As FLASH radiation gets closer to definitive clinical trials in human patients, Constantinos Koumenis, PhD, the Richard H. Chamberlain Professor of Radiation Oncology, is leading research to determine if this paradigm-shifting approach can more effectively kill tumor cells and spare healthy tissue in just a few treatments. Koumenis will chair the Advances and Diagnostics and Therapeutics session, “FLASH Radiotherapy: From Animal Models to the Clinic” on Sunday, April 16 at 1 p.m. ET in Room W307.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $9.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $546 million awarded in the 2021 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 47,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2021, Penn Medicine provided more than $619 million to benefit our community.

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