EACR-AACR-ASPIC Tumor Microenvironment: “This conference was an embodiment of the crème de la crème”

Over 600 people from 48 countries met in Lisbon for the first EACR-AACR Basic & Translation Research Conference, which was centred around the Tumor Microenvironment and was in association with ASPIC.

The meeting saw 25 world-class speakers from around the world give fascinating talks on topics such as immunology, epigenetic pathways, imaging and single-cell RNA sequencing. Some of the speakers were unable to attend the conference in person, so we saw some talks given via Skype – to great success.

Cyrus Ghajar talks about vascular and perivascular regulation of disseminated tumour cells in the brain. Credit: @SciJav on Twitter

Feedback from participants:

Luis Costa, Alberto Bardelli, Lisa Coussens, Carlos Caldas

97% of participants said that they would recommend the conference to others, whilst 91% rated the conference’s scientific quality as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’. A lot of the feedback centred on the quality of the speakers and the science, as well as the opportunities to present their work and make new networking connections during the poster presentation sessions and other events.

“This conference was an embodiment of the crème de la crème and the who is who in cancer research. I was utterly delighted to associate with such a prestigious association that is not only noble towards finding cures to cancer but also unrivaled in this field. Attending this conference represents a giant milestone in my career development.”

Furthermore, many students and early career researchers stated that the conference was an important milestone in their fledgling careers, and being able to present to and meet so many scientists of note is something that would stand them in good stead for the future.

“A great opportunity for a young researcher to meet his idols and perhaps talk with them”

Johanna Joyce delivering her Meet the Expert session

Other feedback highlighted the innovative nature of the science and how the variety of topics were up-to-date with what was occurring in the cancer research field. Many participants noted that it was important to hear different views on the role of the TME in cancer, which could in turn provide new perspectives to their research.

“A very dynamic conference, which was an excellent opportunity to interchange knowledge and build networks. Very interesting topics and presentations that promoted the discussion on current scientific issues.”


In order to promote discussion regarding the conference, the talks and their topics on social media, a conference hashtag was created. This saw plenty of buzz about the meeting on Twitter in particular, with an overwhelming amount of positivity. Below are some examples of what was written:

Scientific Programme Committee:

We’d like to thank the organisers representing each organisation who helped make the conference a success:


  • Carlos Caldas, CRUK Cambridge Institute, Cambridge, UK (co-Chair)
  • Alberto Bardelli, University of Torino, Turin, Italy
  • Johanna Joyce, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland


  • Lisa M. Coussens, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon, USA (co-Chair)
  • Theresa A. Guise, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana, USA
  • Danny R. Welch, University of Kansas Cancer Center, Kansas, USA


  • Luis Costa, Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa-Norte, Instituto de Medicina Molecular, University of Lisbon, Portugal (co-Chair)
  • Joana Paredes, i3S, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • João T. Barata, Instituto de Medicina Molecular, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Scientific round-up of the conference:

If you would like to read a round up of the science of the conference, then please read Diana Romero’s review that she wrote for Nature Reviews: Clinical Oncology. Her article can be found here.

Douglas Hanahan during his Opening Keynote Lecture

Facebook gallery:

A gallery of images from the meeting can be found on Facebook.