University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 44th Annual Scientific Symposium will bring together experts from the United States and Canada to the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education March 18-19 to share the latest on the biology of the immune system and cancer.

Researchers will speak on a variety of topics related to the biology of the immune system and cancer, including on immunotherapy treatments such as checkpoint inhibitors that release the “brakes” on immune cells, as well as findings about aspects of the immune system that suppress the tumor-killing response.

Al Baldwin
UNC Lineberger’s Albert Baldwin, PhD.

Through talks on both the potential for treatments that use the immune system against cancer, and ways the immune system can promote disease or cause autoimmunity, researchers will explore “The Yin and Yang of Immunity in Cancer.”

“There has been an explosion in the understanding of the biology of the complex tumor microenvironment,” said UNC Lineberger’s Albert Baldwin, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor and UNC Lineberger’s associate director for basic research. “We now understand that around tumors there are cancer-killing cells, but also there are immune cells that can promote tumorigenesis and suppress killing pathways. Understanding the complex immunity associated with cancer is leading to new and exciting therapeutic approaches for previously untreatable tumors.”

Jenny Ting
UNC Lineberger’s Jenny Ting, PhD.

Baldwin is co-hosting the symposium with UNC Lineberger’s Jenny P. Ting, PhD, William Rand Kenan Professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Microbiology and Immunology and director of the UNC Center for Translational Immunology; and UNC Lineberger’s Lishan Su, PhD, professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Lishan Su
UNC Lineberger’s Lishan Su, PhD.

The lineup of speakers includes four UNC Lineberger researchers and 10 scientists from around the country and Canada. Irving L. Weissman, MD, professor of pathology, developmental biology and biology at Sanford University and director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, will present one of the keynote talks. He is a leader in research of stem cells that give rise to immune cells like T-cells and B-cells. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, Weissman is considered the “father of hematopoiesis.” He was the first scientist to identify and isolate blood forming stem cells from a mammal in mice.

Attend the symposium

The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Lunch can be ordered as part of registration and costs $20 per day. For more information, contact Melissa Mack at 919-966-0509, or by email, emstroud@med.unc.edu.