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Watching AACR from Near and Far

April 24, 2015

Social media, especially Twitter, has become an integral way to engage with oncology conferences both for attendees and outside observers. Meetings often use dedicated hashtags, scheduled Tweet chats, and live video feeds to reach beyond the convention center.

All three of these were utilized at AACR this year. Attendees generated over 160 Tweets per hour as physicians, researchers, and patient advocates reacted to the breakthrough research presented. And, using the new live-streaming app Periscope, streamed a live video chat hosted by William G. Nelson, MD, PhD, and featured participants like Jose Baselga, MD, PhD, and several others.

Immunotherapy played a starring role at the conference, and that translated to social media, with thousands of posts on the subject. So many that one attendee and Twitter user joked, “Quick #AACR15 summary: ‘blah blah PD-1, blah blah PD-L1, blah blah CTLA-4.’ Cancer immunotherapy truly owns the space!”

And CRI scientists were a big part of that. When Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D., of our Clinical Trials Network as well as a CRI-SU2C Dream Team grantee, presented final results from his phase III trial of pembrolizumab, it spurred hundreds of comments across Twitter.

Users were eager to look toward the future of immunotherapy, commenting that it would surely dominate discussion in 2016, as it did this year. But they were also interested in the history of immunotherapy, with CRI’s timeline of progress shared widely, with one advocate tweeting, “Thanks to Dr. William Coley, Dr. Lloyd Old & many researchers who did not give up on #immunotherapy when it was not popular.” If the thousands of tweets about immunotherapy out of AACR are any indication, that doesn’t appear to be a concern any longer.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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