Cancer Research Institute Media Room




CRI Immunotherapy Summit Grows Along with Cancer Treatment Prospects

  • Cancer Research Institute’s event is free and live online for a national audience, covering immunotherapy, clinical trial options, with implications for many cancers; cancer care disparities panel featured
  • Patients and caregivers registered for the Summit can request a free 1:1 consultation in English or Spanish with a Clinical Trial Navigator, to locate appropriate immunotherapy clinical trials

Next week on October 7-8, 2021, the Cancer Research Institute (CRI)—a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the immune system’s power to control and potentially cure all types of cancer—will offer its 2021 CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit as a free, virtual event. Tamron Hall—Emmy Award-winning host of the Tamron Hall television show, executive producer, author, and philanthropist—will moderate the Summit for the second year. 

“This event that brings medical experts together with thousands of patients to discuss the growing promise of cancer immunotherapy happens nowhere else,” Hall said. “For those of us who have lost someone to cancer or are going through treatment right now, the CRI Summit offers a vital lifeline of helpful information, connecting patients and their caregivers to clinical trials and emerging treatments, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Over the course of two days, the Summit will highlight the growing implications of immunotherapy for more than 10 cancer types, provide education on the basics of immunotherapy and how clinical trials work, and address cancer care disparities for the first time as part of this program.

“This is our fifth CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit and our second in an online format open and available to anyone, again free of charge as with all our Summits,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD, chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at Cancer Research Institute. “Immunotherapy is no longer just a research frontier. Clinical breakthroughs are multiplying, and this Summit is where patients, caregivers, health care professionals, and advocates alike can gain insight on the full range of advances, learn about clinical trial options, and ask their questions.” 

The expanded Summit program begins on Thursday, October 7, at 1:00 PM ET and runs from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM ET on Thursday and on Friday, October 8. Highlights include:

  • Breakout sessions led by top academic experts on the progress of immunotherapy against a wide range of cancer types—encouraging questions from the patients present
  • A panel of diverse patient advocates to discuss racial disparities in cancer care—addressing financial and social barriers—and ways to respond through self-advocacy and support networks
  • Nuts-and-bolts sessions on the science behind immunotherapy and how clinical trials work.

Patients and caregivers registered for the Summit also can request a free, confidential one-on-one consultation in English or Spanish with one of CRI’s Clinical Trial Navigators, who can help locate immunotherapy clinical trials appropriate to an individual’s diagnosis, treatment history, and circumstances.

Summit registration is available at:

Day 1 topics and speakers will include:

Immunotherapy 101: The Basics and Beyond
Ellen Puré, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Live Q&A moderated by Tamron Hall

Immunotherapy Clinical Trials
Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, University of Chicago

Immunotherapy Patient Perspectives
Moderated by Stephen Estrada, Colorectal Cancer Veteran

Blood Cancer and Immunotherapy
Hearn Jay Cho, MD, PhD, Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Institute

Colorectal Cancer and Immunotherapy
Van Morris, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Brain Cancer and Immunotherapy
David A. Reardon, MD, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Head and Neck Cancer and Immunotherapy
Nabil F. Saba, MD, FACP, Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University

Day 2 topics and speakers will include:

Conversation About Cancer Care Disparities
Moderated by Karen Peterson, Breast Cancer Veteran

Breast Cancer and Immunotherapy
Leisha Emens, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Lung Cancer and Immunotherapy
Patrick Forde, MD, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Prostate Cancer and Immunotherapy
Ana Aparicio, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Ovarian Cancer and Immunotherapy
Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Melanoma and Immunotherapy
Margaret Callahan, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Bladder Cancer and Immunotherapy
Arjun Balar, MD, Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University Langone Health

Support for the 2021 CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit is generously provided by the following:

Gold: Bristol Myers Squibb
Silver: Merck    
Bronze: Genentech, GSK, Lilly Oncology, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Sanofi Genzyme

Foundation Medicine

Host Institutions
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, NYU Langone Health

Event Contact
Caroline Offit, [email protected]

Media Contact
Brian M. Brewer, +212-688-7515 x242, bbrewer@amulvey

About the CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit Series
Cancer Research Institute Immunotherapy Patient Summits are free events that connect cancer patients and caregivers with scientific and medical experts to learn about new breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy. Since 2016, CRI has hosted nearly 20 summits across the United States. You can follow the event on social media with the hashtag #CRIsummit.

About Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is a highly rated U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to saving more lives by fueling the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes four Nobel laureates and 27 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $474 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to

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