We are happy to present the confirmed speakers
Nicola Aceto is Professor of Molecular Oncology at the ETH Zurich. Recent discoveries of the Aceto lab include important insights into the biology and vulnerabilities of circulating tumor cells and their clusters, some of which already translated in clinical trials for patients with metastatic breast cancer. He received a PhD summa cum laude from the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Haber lab at Harvard Medical School and MGH Cancer Center in Boston. Nicola received several awards related to his work on CTCs, including the highly prestigious Swiss Science Prize Latsis for groundbreaking cancer research in 2021.
Dr. Catherine Alix-Panabières received her PhD degree in 1998 at the Institute of Virology, University Louis Pasteur, in Strasbourg in France. In 1999, she moved to Montpellier where she did a postdoctoral research at the University Medical Centre. During this last decade, Dr Alix-Panabières has focused on optimizing new techniques of enrichment, detection and characterization of viable circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in patients with solid tumors. She is the expert for the EPISPOT technology that is used to detect viable CTCs in patients with breast, prostate, colon, head & neck cancer and melanoma. This technology has been recently improved to detect functional CTCs at the single cell level (innovative EPIDROP technology). Drs Catherine Alix-Panabières & Pantel coined for the first time the term ‘Liquid Biopsy’ in 2010 (Trends Mol Med).
In 2010, she achieved getting a permanent position at the Hospital and at the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier (MCU-PH). As an associate professor, she became the new director of the Laboratory of Rare Human Circulating Cells (LCCRH) in the Department of Pathology and Onco-Biology.
In this unique platform LCCRH, they isolate, detect and characterize circulating tumor cells using combinations many technologies. She organized and co-organized many international meetings on liquid biopsy (3 ISMRC), several major Symposium on liquid biopsy at the AACR, ESMO. She has authored or co-authored >130 scientific publications in this field during the last years and 15 book chapters, she is the inventor of three patents in the liquid biopsy field and she is part of French national projects as well as in many European ones. She has many collaborations in Europe, America and Asia. More importantly, she demonstrated for the first time the clinical utility of CTCs in breast cancer in the French STIC-METABREAST group. Finally, she is the expert in the establishment of permanent CTC lines: in colon and breast cancer.
It was a great honor for her to receive the Gallet et Breton Cancer Prize, the highest honor conferred by the French Academy of Medicine in November 2012 and, very recently, the 2017 AACR Award for the most cited scientific article in 2015 (Cayrefourcq et al. Cancer Res).
In October 2021, she received the International Liquid Biopsy Society (ISLB) Award for her Lifetime Achievement as well as the prestigious Alexandr Savchuk Award in January 2022, during the ‘15ème biennale Monégasque de Cancérologie’, both in consideration of her huge contribution in the field during her career and her commitment in the development of the liquid biopsy research.
In 2022, she was a key partner in the huge exhibition on CANCER led by Prof Alain Eychène, the current Director of Research at the French National Institute of Cancer (INCa). This event takes place at ‘La Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie’ in Paris. After 12 months in France, this exhibition will travel to different European countries.
Prof. Andersen’s research focuses on translation of basic molecular cancer knowledge into clinical tools. Prof. Andersen has developed a range of ultra-sensitive tools for tumor informed detection of ctDNA, both using digital PCR and sequencing (GUT 2016, ClinCan Res2017, SciTraMed 2017, ClinChem 2022). More recently, he has developed tumor agnostic detection methods exploiting DNA methylation patterns (ClinEpi 2019, ClinChem 2020) and tumor characteristic cell free DNA fragmentation patterns (Nature 2019). He has conducted several clinical studies addressing and documenting the potential clinical benefits of using ctDNA analysis in clinical decision-making (ClinCanRes 2017 & 2021, JAMA Onc 2019, JCO 2019, Mol Onc 2020, IntJCan2022, EurJCan 2022). Prof. Andersen is director of the “National Danish Research Centre for circulating tumor DNA guided treatment” which was established in 2020. The center initiates and coordinates national prospective clinical studies in all cancer types. He is member of the European Liquid Biopsy Society where is lead on the “Clinical Working Group”.
Professor Carsten Bokemeyer is Founding Member, Director and Spokesman of the University Cancer Center Hamburg and the Director of the Oncology Division at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. After his graduation at the Medical School in Hannover in 1989, Professor Bokemeyer continued his clinical activity at Hannover, Tübingen and Hamburg. His scientific work in the field of cancer and cancer therapy is reflected in more than 850 publications in high ranking journals and has been awarded the National Award of the German Cancer Society, the Award of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the Wilhelm Warner Award for Excellent Achievements in Cancer Research. Furthermore, Professor Bokemeyer is Chair of the Hamburg Cancer Society, Member of the Subcommittee 2 “National Decade against Cancer” and Chair of the DKH network of German Oncology Centres of Excellence.
Dr. Diaz is a physician-scientist who leads the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His early work provided the first definitive evidence for using circulating tumor DNA as cancer biomarker for screening, monitoring, and detection of occult disease; and he discovered the therapeutic link between immunotherapy and cancer genetics in patients with mismatch repair deficient tumors. This research led to the first pan-tumor FDA approval for any solid tumors with this genetic lesion and the first cancer study that resulted in a 100% complete response rate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Discovery and is an elected member of the AACR Fellows Academy, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the American Academy of Physicians. In 2021, Dr. Diaz was appointed by President Joseph Biden to the National Cancer Advisory Board.
Prof. Christoffer Gebhardt heads the University Skin Cancer Center Hamburg at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and serves as Vice Chair of the Department of Dermatology. Additionally, he co-chairs the Fleur Hiege Center for Skin Cancer Research at the UKE.
His main areas of activity are clinical treatment and research of malignant melanoma and other forms of skin cancer with a focus on immunotherapy as well molecular diagnostics. His research interests span from mechanistic insights into immuno-resistance and metastasis of skin cancers to omics-driven identification of biomarkers and design of biomarker-driven clinical trials with the ultimate goal to revolutionize skin cancer patients’ care by modern diagnostics and therapeutics.
He studied medicine at the University of Heidelberg and at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (USA). After completing his doctorate and postdoctorate at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg and clinical training at the University Hospital Heidelberg, he became a senior physician/board-certified dermatologist at Mannheim University Hospital and a research group leader at the DKFZ. In 2017 he was appointed University Professor of Dermatooncology and Experimental Dermatology at the UKE.
Prof. Gebhardt is a board member of the Dermatological Oncology Working Group (DeCOG/ADO) within the German Cancer Society (DKG) and has served as board member of the German Society of Experimental Dermatology (ADF). He is also an executive board member of the Hiege Foundation - The German Skin Cancer Foundation and the Erich and Gertrud Roggenbuck Foundation. Prof. Gebhardt has co-founded Dermagnostix and Dermagnostix R&D.
Ellen Heitzer works at the Institute for Human Genetics in Graz, AUSTRIA, where she is heading the Research Unit for “Liquid Biopsies for personalized medicine in cancer”. As part of the EU (IMI) funded Cancer-ID consortium she led the "ctDNA Working Group" and made important contributions to the standardization of liquid biopsy methods. As a steering committee member of the European Liquid Biopsy Society (ELBS) she advocates for the standardization and guidelines of LB approaches to enable a widespread clinical use. As an EU registered Clinical Laboratory Geneticist and head of the molecular genetics branch of the D&F Institute for Human Genetics, Prof. Heitzer is also involved in routine diagnostics of hereditary diseases with a special focus on familial tumor syndromes.
Paul Hofman, MD, PhD, is Professor of Pathology at the University Côte D’Azur (Nice, France). He is the head of the Laboratory of Clinical and Experimental Pathology at Louis Pasteur Hospital and director of the research team 4 (Inserm U1081/CNRS 7284 center) at the comprehensive cancer center Antoine Lacassagne. He is the director of the MSc Biobanks and Complex Data Management. He is the head of the OncoAge consortium (www.oncoage.org) at the University Côte d’Azur. His main field of interest during these last years focused on lung cancer pathophysiology, and notably on the assessment of different predictive biomarkers using both tissue and liquid biopsy samples.
Tasuku Honjo is a Japanese immunologist who studies the basic biology of the immune responses against pathogens and cancer. Since 2020 he is the founding director of the Center for Cancer Immunotherapy and Immunobiology (CCII), an innovative new research center at the University of Kyoto specializing in basic and applied research in cancer immunotherapy. Tasuku Honjo`s research on the maturation of B‐cells, lymphocytes which produce antibodies, has revealed how the immune system can generate a near unlimited variation of antibodies. His work on immune regulation and immune suppression in cancer cells has resulted in the emergence of an entire new class of cancer drugs, called "checkpoint inhibitors”, that are revolutionizing cancer treatment. For this achievement he was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
Dr. Lyden completed his M.D. at Brown University, Ph.D. at the University of Vermont, residency in Pediatrics at Duke University, and a clinical and postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Currently, he is the Stavros S. Niarchos Professor of Pediatrics and Cell and Developmental Biology at Weill Cornell Medicine/Cornell University. He defined the concept of the "pre-metastatic niche" (PMN), where tumor-secreted factors recruit bone marrow-derived progenitor cells and immune cells to distant organ sites to provide a platform for metastasis. In addition, he demonstrated that tumor-derived exosomes initiate the PMN by educating resident stromal cells which alters the immune landscape, promoting metastasis. He identified key proteins and nucleic acids, specifically double stranded DNA, in exosomes and demonstrated that this exosomal cargo supports thrombosis, vascular leakiness, immune dysregulation, and PMN formation. In regards to Stephen Paget’s “seed and soil” hypothesis, he has solved this mystery, in part, defining the role of tumor exosomal integrins in organotropic metastasis. His lab has devised a new technology for the isolation of extracellular vesicle subpopulations and identified a new particle named exomere, the most prominent tumor particle secreted by tumor cells, which packages distinct enzyme proteins, lipids, and glycans. While exosomes promote pre-metastatic niche formation, exomeres promote metabolic dysregulation in the liver. Most recently, leveraging more than a decade worth of exosome proteomics, his lab has performed a comprehensive analysis of exosomal cargo across a variety of human cancers, identifying novel exosomal markers as well as pan-cancer and cancer type-specific exosomal biomarkers for early cancer detection. Moreover, Dr. Lyden is the 2018 recipient of the National Institutes of Health R35 Outstanding Investigator Award, which supports his efforts to explore the systemic effects of metastatic cancer and he is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Prof. Klaus Pantel is chairman of the Institute of Tumor Biology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. He graduated in 1986, and after his postdoctoral period in the USA he performed research at the Institute of Immunology, University of Munich for 10 years. The pioneer work of Prof. Pantel in the field of cancer micrometastasis, circulating tumor cells and circulating nucleic acids is reflected by more than 550 publications in excellent high ranking biomedical and scientific journals and has been awarded the AACR Outstanding Investigator Award 2010, German Cancer Award 2010, and two ERC Advanced Investigator Grants 2011 and 2019. Moreover, Prof. Pantel is the founder and chairman of the European Liquid Biopsy Society (ELBS).
Nickolas Papadopoulos is the co‐discoverer of the genetic basis of the predisposition to hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC). He was part of the interdisciplinary team that was first to sequence all of the protein coding genes of four common human tumor types. Later identified novel mutations in chromatin remodeling genes in human cancers. He is focused in the development of clinical applications in early detection, and monitoring of cancer using liquid biopsy. He has developed novel methods and tests for the non-invasive detection of multiple types of cancer, including CancerSEEK. He has co-founded companies that develop diagnostics for cancer.
Martin Reck, MD, PhD, is head of the Department of Thoracic Oncology and head of the Clinical Trial Department in the Department of Thoracic Oncology at the Lung Clinic Grosshansdorf, Germany.
He is also Principal Investigator in the Airway Research Center North (ARCN), which is a member of the German Centre for Lung Research (DZL).
Dr Reck has been a Principal Investigator (PI) in various clinical trials since 1993. His main interests are new medical treatments of thoracic malignancies as well as translational research related to predictive markers. A particular focus of his work has been attributed to the clinical development of antiangiogenic compounds. Recently he also has been deeply involved in several key trials with immunotherapies including ipilimumab, PD-1 and PDL-1 antibodies and other agents. As part of this activity he has been the principal investigator of the Keynote 24 trial investigating monotherapy with Pembrolizumab against platinum based chemotherapy in untreated patients with advanced PDL-1 expressing NSCLC (TPS =/> 50%), IMpower 150 trial and the CheckMate 9LA trial, which evaluated the combination of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab together with a short chemotherapy. Furthermore he has served on various Global Trial Steering Committees.
Besides the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Dr Reck is member of the International Association for the study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), the American society of Medical Oncology (ASCO), the German Working Group for Lung Cancer, the German Cancer Society (DKG) and the German Society of Pulmonology (DGP).
He has published papers in numerous peer-reviewed journals and is member of the editorial board of Journal of Thoracic Oncology, Annals of Oncology and Lung Cancer.
Dr. Nitzan Rosenfeld is a leader and pioneer of the field of cancer liquid biopsies. He trained in Physics and Systems Biology before leading a Computational Biology team in a biotech company. His research group at the CRUK-Cambridge Institute develops methods and proof-of-concept applications of liquid biopsies for cancer precision medicine. Their work was recognised by multiple academic awards. In 2014 he co-founded Inivata (now a part of NeoGenomics), a cancer genomics company unlocking liquid biopsies to transform the care of cancer patients. Dr Rosenfeld’s trainees and lab alumni have taken on research and leadership roles throughout the liquid biopsy community.
Howard I. Scher, MD, FASCO, D. Wayne Calloway Chair in Urologic Oncology,has dedicated his career to the co-development of targeted therapies and biomarkers such as circulating tumor cells (CTCs) which can be used to assess treatment efficacy, guide treatment selection for the individual patient and improve the way drugs are evaluated in the clinic, accelerating regulatory approvals. During his 25-year tenure as the Chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) he led international efforts to standardize the design and analysis of phase II prostate cancer trials (PCWG2, PCWG3) and helped elucidate key molecular and genetic features of the disease, translating these insights into the clinic by leading early phase and phase III registration trials of abiraterone acetate and enzalutamide which are now FDA approved.
In his current roles—Head of MSKCC’s Biomarker Development Program; Member and Attending Physician, Genitourinary Oncology Service, Department of Medicine at MSKCC; and Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College—Dr. Scher applies the same principles used in developing drugs to blood and imaging-based biomarkers in a regulatory context to better inform diagnostic and therapeutic decisions so that patient outcomes are improved.
Dr. Scher serves as the principal investigator of the NIH Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Prostate Cancer at MSKCC and the Department of Defense-sponsored Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC), and has received the 2015 AACR Team Science Award for his multidisciplinary work developing AR inhibitors, the Donald S. Coffey-Prostate Cancer Foundation Physician Scientist award and the Chemotherapy Foundation Ezra Greenspan Award. Dr. Scher was elected to the Association of American Physicians and named a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Éric Vivier, DVM, PhD, is Professor of Immunology at Aix-Marseille University and at the Public Hospital of Marseille (AP-HM). In addition, he was appointed in 2018, Scientific Director of Innate Pharma, a biotechnology company dedicated to improving cancer treatment with innovative therapeutic antibodies that exploit the immune system.
He completed his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School, then joined Aix-Marseille University as professor at the Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML) in 1993 before becoming its director from 2008 to 2017. He is also one of the founders of Marseille-Immunopôle, an immunology cluster created in 2014 linking fundamental and therapeutic research, innovation and industrial development on the Aix-Marseille metropole.
Eric Vivier's work focuses on innate immunity and in particular Natural killer and other innate lymphoid cells, at Ciml, at AP-HM and at Innate-Pharma. Professor Vivier has published over 400 scientific articles and is on the list of the most cited researchers.
A laureate of the European Research Council (ERC advanced grants), a member of the EMBO, the Académie Nationale de Médecine and the Institut Universitaire de France, Prof. Vivier has received several awards including those from the Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer (and the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS). He is Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite.
He is also President of Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster Association.
Robert A. Weinberg received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He did postdoctoral research at the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, and at the Salk Institute, LaJolla, California, and then returned to MIT in 1972. In 1982, he was appointed Professor of Biology at MIT. He is a founding Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, the Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research, and an American Cancer Society Research Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an authority on the genetic basis of human cancer. He and his colleagues discovered the first human-cancer-causing gene - the Ras oncogene - and the first known tumor-suppressor gene - Rb, the retinoblastoma gene. The principal goal of his research program is to determine how oncogenes, their normal counterparts (proto-oncogenes) and tumor-suppressor genes function together in the complex circuitry that controls cancer cell growth. He is particularly interested in applying this knowledge to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer cell invasion and metastasis.
Prof. L. Zitvogel, MD (Clinical Oncology), PhD (Tumor Immunology), full professor at the University Paris Saclay, graduated in Medical Oncology in 1992. Scientific career first at the University of Pittsburgh, US. Became Research Director at Institut National de la Santé et Recherche Médicale U1015, and Scientific Director of the Clinicobiome program at Gustave Roussy, the largest cancer Center in Europe in 1998. Actively contributed to the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Pioneer of the concepts of immunogenic cell death and gut microbiota in cancer immunosurveillance and therapies. Recipient of many awards: Translation Research INSERM Prize, the ASCO-SITC, Brupbacher Awards 2017, ESMO Immuno-Oncology Award 2017, Baillet Latour Prize 2019, the Griffuel Prize 2019, the Duquesne Ligue Prize, and ITOC9 german award. Knighted Officer of Légion d’Honneur by French Ministery of Health 2019 and elected member of the National Academy of Medicine 2021. Her H-factor is 145, with >500 publications on PubMed, 108 265 citations in Clarivate analytics (highly cited researchers 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016).