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St. Jude at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting

Scientists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will participate in the annual gathering of a premier professional society for the cancer research community.

Memphis, Tennessee, March 30, 2022

Aerial view of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at dusk or dawn

Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will share their expertise and present original research findings at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting. The meeting will be held April 8 –13, 2022 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

The AACR annual meeting involves members of the cancer research community including scientists, clinicians, health care professionals, cancer survivors, patients and advocates. As such, it  provides an opportunity for St. Jude scientists to share their work widely, demonstrate their expertise and foster collaborations and partnerships. 

For example, on April 8, Charles W.M. Roberts, M.D., Ph.D., St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center director, will present on SWI/SNF (BAF) complex mutations in cancer: mechanisms and vulnerabilities as part of the education session on epigenetics in cancer. Also through the education sessions, on April 9, Jinghui Zhang, Ph.D., St. Jude Department of Computational Biology chair, will serve as chair for the session focused on the use of big data resources in pediatric cancer. Zhang will also present on how to use big data resources and cloud-based analysis for pediatric cancers and survivors on St. Jude Cloud.

Also chairing a session is Suzanne Baker, Ph.D., St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology, who will lead the session on pediatric cancer pathogenesis and therapeutic advances. In the session Baker will present her work on cell state in origins and pathogenesis of pediatric high-grade glioma. The session will be held April 12. 

Scientist named NextGen Star

As part of the annual meeting, Anand Patel, M.D., Ph.D., St. Jude Department of Oncology, has been named one of the AACR’s NextGen Stars. The NextGen Stars program is intended to increase the visibility of early-career scientists at the annual meeting and to support the professional development and advancement of young researchers. Patel will present on how the myogenesis program drives clonal selection and drug resistance in pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma in the session on models for rare cancers held on April 12.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of cancer that arises in soft tissue, and is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children. Patel will share how his team used single-cell and single-nucleus RNA-sequencing, epigenetic profiling and other leading-edge techniques to study patient tumor samples alongside a variety of advanced laboratory models. The findings increase understanding of how developmental biology impacts the clinical behavior of pediatric cancer and present a new therapeutic approach focused on targeting each developmental state.

Downing named to AACR Academy

James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO, has been named a fellow of the AACR Academy. The Academy was established in 2013 to honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. The 2022 elected class of fellows of the AACR Academy will be formally recognized as part of the annual meeting opening ceremony on April 10.

Sharing science through poster presentations

Scientists from St. Jude will present on a variety of topics through both in-person and online poster presentations. Poster topics range from novel therapeutic approaches for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, to understanding CD8 T-cell responses as well as cloud-based platforms for visualizing scientific data and studies of childhood cancer survivors. Poster presentations run throughout the conference. 

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening disorders. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 60 years ago. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. To learn more, visit, read St. Jude Progress, a digital magazine, and follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.