Not-in-San Diego: The second part of the 2020 virtual annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR VM2) is over, and now the fun part of looking at some of the key data presented commences.

If you listened in to some of the sessions live like BSB did then you would have heard many of the chairs say how surprised they were to have 1,200 to 1,500 or more people listening live – AACR are to be congratulated on promoting access to science from around the world.

We all miss the personal interaction of a meeting but given the high cost of attending an annual conference, a virtual meeting does promote the democratization of science, and we are all for that. Given the ongoing uncertainties around the control of Covid–19, with all the travel and large crowds involved, it remains uncertain when we’ll all feel comfortable going to major conferences again.

One presentation that caught the attention of many at AACR VM2 including ourselves was data on a novel way to target IL–18 from the lab of Dr Aaron Ring (Yale), which was presented by his postdoc, Dr Ting Zhou at the meeting. A paper was also published simultaneously in Nature last week.

We’ve been following Dr Ring’s work on IL–18 for some time so it was good to finally see it published.

As part of our ongoing AACR20 coverage, Dr Ring kindly spoke to BSB to explain how his research led to the discovery of a novel way to target IL–18 for cancer immunotherapy as well as the plans to translate this into the clinic through a spin-off company, Simcha Therapeutics.

Will this novel way of targeting IL–18 be a winner? We take a closer look in this post.

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