St. Jude at AACR 2018

The 2018 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting features research, resources and expertise from St. Jude investigators

Scientists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will present their research at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The five-day international meeting begins April 14 in Chicago.

 

Select Oral Abstracts

Featured Study

DATE: April 15
TIME: 3:05 p.m.
LOCATION: Room N228, Level 2, McCormick Place North
TITLE: Access, visualize and analyze 5,000 whole-genomes from pediatric cancer patients on St. Jude Cloud
ABSTRACT: 922

St. Jude Cloud launches as world’s largest public repository of pediatric cancer genomics data

Secure sharing and collaborative analysis of huge datasets are essential in the quest to discover cures for pediatric cancer. Scott Newman, PhD, group lead for bioinformatics analysis in the St. Jude Department of Computational Biology, will present St. Jude Cloud, a new publicly available data-sharing and collaboration platform. One of the world’s largest repositories of pediatric cancer genomics data, St. Jude Cloud also provides unique analysis tools and visualizations. The platform, which was developed by scientists at St. Jude in collaboration with technology industry leaders Microsoft and DNAnexus, allows scientists to explore more than 5,000 whole-genome (WGS), 5,000 whole-exome (WES) and 1,200 RNA-Seq datasets from more than 5,000 pediatric cancer patients and survivors. By 2019, 10,000 whole-genome sequences will be available on St. Jude Cloud.  These data have been generated from three large St. Jude-supported genomics initiatives: the St. Jude—Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, designed to understand the genetic origins of childhood cancers; the Genomes for Kids clinical trial, focused on moving whole genome sequencing into the clinic; and the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort study (St. Jude LIFE), which conducts comprehensive clinical evaluations on thousands of pediatric cancer survivors throughout their lives.

Demonstrations by Scott Newman, PhD, or Jinghui Zhang, PhD, will be available in the Exhibit Hall:
Booth #2844
Monday, April 16, 9 a.m.-11 a.m.
Tuesday, April 17, 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

Read the Press Release >

 

DATE: April 16
TIME: 3:05 p.m.
LOCATION: Room S101, Level 1, McCormick Place South
TITLE: Monogenic and polygenic associations with subsequent breast cancer risk in survivors of childhood cancer: The St. Jude Lifetime Cohort Study (SJLIFE)
ABSTRACT: 3007

St. Jude researchers have used whole-genome sequencing to better assess the genetic risk of developing breast cancer for female survivors of childhood cancer. The approach is an apparent first and calculates breast cancer susceptibility based in part on whether survivors carry high-risk, rare mutations in one of the 11 well-established breast cancer predisposition genes and 172 common genetic variants that individually confer a more modest risk. “Such individualized risk profiles will help survivors and their health care providers better understand and manage their health risks,” said Zhaoming Wang, PhD, of the St. Jude Department of Computational Biology. The study involved 1,133 female St. Jude cancer survivors enrolled in the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort study (St. Jude LIFE).


 
Mark Hatley, MD, PhD, of St. Jude Oncology

DATE: April 16
TIME: 3:05 p.m.
LOCATION:
Room S405, Level 4, McCormick Place South
TITLE: Location specificity in fusion-negative rhabdomyosarcoma driven by cell of origin
ABSTRACT:
3014

Location specificity in fusion-negative rhabdomyosarcoma driven by cell of origin

Researchers led by Mark Hatley, MD, PhD, of St. Jude Oncology, have written a new origin story for rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common soft tissue cancer in children. Rhabdomyosarcoma was long thought to start in early skeletal muscle cells. Hatley and his colleagues have shown that the tumor originates not in immature muscle cells, but in cells destined to line the inner surface of blood vessels. “A better understanding of the tumor cell of origin and the mechanisms involved are important for advancing stalled therapies,” Hatley said. Catherine Drummond, PhD, a St. Jude postdoctoral fellow, will present the findings.


 

Select Symposia

Charles Sherr, MD, PhD

DATE: April 16
TIME: 10:30 a.m.
LOCATION: Room S102, Level 1, McCormick Place South
TITLE: CDK Inhibitors: From Bench to Bedside
MAJOR SYMPOSIUM: SY19

More than 25 years after proteins called cyclin D-dependent kinases (CDK) were discovered, inhibitors that target the enzymes are helping patients with advanced breast cancer live longer. CDKs are a family of enzymes that regulate cell proliferation. The first, CDK4, was discovered by Charles Sherr, MD, PhD, and his colleagues. Sherr now chairs the St. Jude Tumor Cell Biology and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. At AACR, he will chair a major symposium on CDK inhibitors and provide an overview of how inhibitors work in cancer therapy.


 
Suzanne Baker, PhD, Developmental Neurobiology

DATE: April 16
TIME: 2:05 p.m.
LOCATION: Room S102 (Grand Ballroom), Level 1, McCormick Place South
TITLE: Transforming chromatin: Oncogenic histone H3 in diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas
MAJOR SYMPOSIUM:
SY05

Suzanne Baker, PhD, of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology, will present evidence that a mutation carried in 80 percent of patients with a lethal brain tumor is important for tumor growth. Baker and others had identified the point mutation in a family of DNA packaging proteins called histone H3 in patients with the brain tumor diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. “The mutation causes massive deregulation of the epigenome, but how that contributes to cancer was unclear,” said Baker, who is also chairing the major symposium where she will discuss the research. The epigenome includes chemical compounds that attach to DNA and regulate gene expression.


 
. Ben Youngblood, PhD, Immunology

DATE: April 18
TIME: 10:50 a.m.
LOCATION: Room S100 (Grand Ballroom), Level 1, McCormick Place South
TITLE:
Epigenetic regulation of T-cell exhaustion: Implications for cancer immunotherapy
MAJOR SYMPOSIUM: SY07-02

Benjamin Youngblood, PhD, of the St. Jude Department of Immunology, will detail research from his laboratory that suggests reversing DNA methylation may be essential for immunotherapy of solid tumors. Researchers discovered that T cell “exhaustion” in mice was epigenetically regulated by DNA methylation, which functions as an off-switch for gene expression. Investigators checked pediatric solid tumors and found exhausted T cells. The scientists are now exploring how epigenetics contributes to T cell exhaustion in cancer patients and a possible combination drug therapy to revive the immune response.


 

Educational Sessions

DATE: April 14
TIME: 1:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Room N427, Level 4, McCormick Place North
EDUCATIONAL SESSION: ED27

Paul Northcott, PhD, of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology, will give a talk about subgroup-specific enhancer hijacking in the brain tumor medulloblastoma. The talk is part of the “Hijacking the Epigenome in Cancer: Challenges and Opportunities” session.


 

DATE: April 14
TIME: 2 p.m.
LOCATION: Room S402, Level 4, McCormick Place South
EDUCATIONAL SESSION: ED38 

Suzanne Baker, PhD, of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology, will give a talk about cell context and consequence of oncogenic histone mutations in pediatric gliomas. The talk is part of a session titled “Genetic, Epigenetic and Cellular Context Driving Pediatric Brain Tumor Development.”


 

DATE: April 14
TIME: 3:15 p.m.
LOCATION: Room S103, Level 1, McCormick Place South
EDUCATIONAL SESSION: ED09

Zoran Rankovic, PhD, of the St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, will give a talk titled “Challenges and principles of drug design in neuro-oncology.”


 

Additional Sessions

DATE: April 16
TIME: 10:30 a.m.
LOCATION: Room S401bcd, Level 4, McCormick Place South

CAR-T therapy for solid tumors

Scientific and regulatory challenges for developing CAR-T therapy for treatment of solid tumors will feature Stephen Gottschalk, MD, chair of St. Jude Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. The session, "Scientific and Regulatory Challenges in Development of CAR-T Therapy for Solid Tumors," will include an update on CAR-T therapy for sarcoma, brain and other solid tumors.


 

DATE: April 16
TIME: 5 p.m.
LOCATION: Room N227, Level 2, McCormick Place North

Surveillance in hereditary cancer

The National Cancer Institute estimates inherited mutations play a role in 5 to 10 percent of cancers and more than 50 cancer predisposition syndromes have been identified. The debate continues in the session, "To Monitor or Not to Monitor: Surveillance in Hereditary Cancer," about how best to monitor individuals with the syndromes, which can affect multiple organs. The debate will include Kim Nichols, MD, a member of the St. Jude Department of Oncology and director of the Cancer Predisposition Division.


 

Visit St. Jude at Booth #2844

Representatives from St. Jude Cloud and the Childhood Solid Tumor Network will be available to answer questions in the Exhibit Hall at Booth #2844. Learn about the resources and data available for researchers.

Visit St. Jude Academic Programs and Recruiting at Booth #2542

Representatives from the St. Jude Office of Academic Programs will be available to answer questions in the Exhibit Hall at Booth #2542.

Join Us at the AACR Career Fair

DATE: April 14
TIME: 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
LOCATION: TBD
TITLE: AACR Cancer & Biomedical Research Career Fair

Learn more about the AACR Career Fair.