For the Press

Federal “Moonshot” Fight Against Cancer Means More Resources for Surgical Oncology Professionals

Author: SSO Staff
Feb 26, 2016

69th SSO Annual Cancer Symposium in Boston to Set the Stage for Discussions
on the Future of Cancer Research and Treatment

ROSEMONT, IL – The 69th SSO Annual Cancer Symposium (SSO 2016) will feature education and insight from some of the brightest minds working in surgical oncology today, including featured lecturers with ties to the recently announced White House “moonshot” initiative to cure cancer – a proposed $1 billion in spending on cancer research over the next two years.

These featured lecturers will be joined at SSO 2016 in Boston, March 2-5, by more than 1,700 surgical oncologists, researchers and other oncology health care professionals from around the world. The John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center will be the site of four days of educational and scientific programming focused on the latest cancer research and discoveries, advancements in government funding for research and exploring the treatments of tomorrow that can be applied to today’s surgical patients with solid tumor cancers.

Vice President Biden formally launched his initiative by talking with doctors and researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center, home of SSO President Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD, The John Rhea Barton Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Delivering the SSO Presidential Address at SSO 2016, Dr. Drebin will present "Translational Cancer Research: The Surgeon's Role."

“It’s an honor to have had Vice President Biden choose the University of Pennsylvania as the site to launch this important initiative,” Dr. Drebin said. “The Vice President’s drive to secure more than $1 billion in federal funding for cancer research means that the surgical oncology professionals gathering at SSO 2016 in Boston and other researchers around the country will have more of the resources and support they need to really make an impact. The proposed spending for cancer research is significant, and much of what will be discussed and debated at SSO 2016 will be reflective of this. I’m particularly looking forward to this year’s Annual Cancer Symposium and participating in these critical conversations.”

The University of Pennsylvania caught Biden’s attention because of its work with immunotherapy – a treatment that in the Vice President’s eyes could be “revolutionary.” Immunotherapy plays an important role at SSO 2016, and another of the featured lecturers will focus on the subject. Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute, will present the James Ewing Lecture, “T Cells as a Drug for the Treatment of Human Cancer.” Dr. Rosenberg pioneered the development of effective immunotherapies and gene therapies for patients with advanced cancers.

Drs. Drebin and Rosenberg will be joined by two more renowned surgical oncology leaders as featured lecturers. Dr. José Baselga, MD, PhD, President of the American Association for Cancer Research and Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will deliver “Bringing Precision Cancer Medicine Forward” as the John Wayne Clinical Research Lecturer. David A. Tuveson, MD, PhD, Professor and Director of the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will present “Pancreatic Models and Medicine" as the American Cancer Society/SSO Basic Science Lecturer.

“The level of scientific discussion and discovery at SSO 2016 will be revolutionary,” Dr. Drebin said. “Health care professionals and academic practitioners from all surgical oncology specialties have long relied on the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium to gain advanced knowledge, and engage and interact with the latest developments in surgical oncology.”

SSO 2016 will focus on the cancer treatments of tomorrow that can be applied to today’s surgical patients with solid tumor cancers including breast, colorectal, endocrine, gastrointestinal, head and neck, liver and pancreas, and melanoma and sarcoma. In addition to the featured lectures, SSO 2016 will offer four days of programming that includes four Pre-Meeting Workshops, two sessions of The Great Debates, two plenary sessions, nine parallel sessions, 14 symposia, more than 400 compelling poster sessions, late-breaking videos and an array of networking opportunities. There will also be an exhibition featuring some of the latest and most advanced medical equipment, services and solutions for surgical oncologists.

To learn more about these featured lecturers and SSO 2016, visit

About the Society of Surgical Oncology
The Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) is the premier organization for surgeons and health care providers dedicated to advancing and promoting the science and treatment of cancer. The Society’s focus on all solid-tumor disease sites is reflected in its Annual Cancer Symposium, monthly scientific journal (Annals of Surgical Oncology), educational initiatives and committee structure. The Society’s mission is to improve multidisciplinary patient care by advancing the science, education and practice of cancer surgery worldwide.