Unite and Conquer: Accelerating Progress Together at ASCO20 Virtual

May 20, 2020

Discover, Engage, Connect, and Make a Difference in Global Cancer Care

Even as efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in tight restrictions on travel and gatherings, ASCO’s essential responsibility to disseminate critical discoveries in cancer science remains. Join oncology professionals from around the world for the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program to see and hear the brightest minds in oncology present study results that will influence today’s practice and inspire future research directions. The Virtual Scientific Program, to be held Friday, May 29, through Sunday, May 31, will provide an engaging lineup of scheduled and on-demand scientific content offering the opportunity to learn and collaborate across a variety of approaches, disciplines, and specialties. 

A Community United, Despite Distancing

The theme for this year’s meeting, selected by 2019-2020 ASCO president Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, calls for collaboration across all approaches, disciplines, professions, and interests. “Unite and Conquer: Accelerating Progress Together” highlights the importance for oncology professionals to come together—to unite—and exchange knowledge and information to improve the lives of patients. Participants will see the theme reflected in sessions throughout the meeting, and during Dr. Burris’ Presidential Address.

“For us to realize our vision of conquering cancer, we must be united against the disease and bridge the differences of the various stakeholders with a set of common goals and ideas. By working together, we can solve the most pressing, systemic challenges that impede patient access to high-quality cancer care,” Dr. Burris said.

At a time of isolation and anxiety for many people, including those in health care, the theme of unity is more relevant and meaningful than ever.

“When I chose the 2020 meeting theme ‘Unite and Conquer: Accelerating Progress Together’, I never imagined that we would be unable to unite in person this summer, as we have for the past 55 years,” Dr. Burris said. “But even as we remain physically distant, we are united in our determination to deliver the best possible care for every patient with cancer, and to make progress against this disease despite every obstacle, including the immediate challenges of COVID-19. I know many of us are making heroic efforts to care for patients with urgent health needs, and to reassure those who have been asked to delay or adjust their cancer treatment plans. I hope the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program serves as a source of inspiration, connection, and hope in this extremely challenging time.”


While registration is required for all attendees, the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program meeting fees will be waived completely for ASCO members (and discounted for non-members). Attendees of the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program will also receive access to the ASCO20 Virtual Education Program, to be held August 8-10, 2020, at no additional charge.

Registration for the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program is currently open and will remain open throughout the meeting. You are encouraged to register a day prior to accessing content to ensure that you have time to test your username and password and resolve any technical issues before joining the Virtual Scientific Program.

ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program Highlights

On Friday, May 29, at 8:00 AM (ET), all oral, poster, and poster discussion presentations, as well as track-based Clinical Science Symposia, will be available online. Registered attendees will have on-demand access to hundreds of video and slide presentations, as well as discussant commentary. Most abstracts were published on May 13; late-breaking abstracts will be released on May 29.

“Consistent with Dr. Burris’ presidential theme, we sought practice-changing and clinically relevant abstracts,” said Scientific Program Committee chair Melissa L. Johnson, MD. “Participants have come to expect this—and much more—from ASCO. In keeping with Dr. Burris’ vision, we were also interested in abstracts that went beyond traditional clinical topics to engage all oncology stakeholders, biologic correlatives helping to guide drug development, clinical trial design, and regulatory policy, and novel care models or research initiatives. We have assembled a program that catalyzes novel collaborations and synergistic partnerships to make new strides to overcome cancer.”

Over the weekend, ASCO will host scheduled events, including the Opening Session, the Plenary Session, cross-cutting Clinical Science Symposia (including Cancer Care in the Time of COVID: Assessing Impact and Future Directions), and track-specific highlight sessions featuring the top science and highest impact results in each area. The scheduled broadcast begins on Saturday, May 30, at 9:30 AM (ET), and runs through Sunday, May 31. All sessions included in the scheduled broadcast will be included in the on-demand content 2 hours after the close of the broadcast.

As part of the presentations, the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program will offer an enhanced networking platform that will allow attendees to chat and connect in real time with colleagues, presenters, and oncology professionals from across the globe.

Opening Session

Opening Session will include the Presidential Address and Guest Speaker’s Address. Dr. Burris will deliver the Presidential Address on his theme and its message of uniting and conquering as we accelerate progress together.

ASCO is delighted to welcome David C. Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, FCPP, as the meeting’s guest speaker. An assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the associate director for the Orphan Disease Center, Dr. Fajgenbaum is cofounder and executive director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, as well as the cofounder of the National Students of Ailing Mothers and Fathers Support Network. Dr. Fajgenbaum was a former Georgetown University quarterback (nicknamed “the Beast”) attending medical school, where he was also known for his unmatched mental stamina. Things changed dramatically when he began suffering from inexplicable fatigue. In a matter of weeks, his organs were failing, and he was read his last rites. Doctors were baffled by his condition, which they had yet to even diagnose. Miraculously, Dr. Fajgenbaum survived—only to endure repeated near-death relapses from what would eventually be identified as a form of Castleman disease. More than 5 years later, a treatment that he identified has induced a tentative remission and his novel approach to collaborative scientific inquiry has become a blueprint for advancing rare disease research. His incredible story demonstrates the potency of hope, and what can happen when the forces of determination, love, family, faith, and serendipity collide.

Plenary Session

The Plenary Session showcases abstract presentations of the top practice-changing science, with commentary from expert discussants. This is the must-see session of the meeting, highlighting the most clinically relevant science that will change current cancer care. Presentations will cover five pivotal phase III trials in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.

Follow #ASCO20 on Social Media

Connect with ASCO on social media to keep up with the latest information from ASCO20 Virtual. Follow along on Twitter (@ASCO) and Instagram (@ascocancer) and share your own experience and insights using the hashtag #ASCO20.

You can also follow ASCO’s Featured Voices, ASCO volunteers who have committed to leading a robust conversation throughout the meeting on social media. This year, 25 Featured Voices representing diverse perspectives will be posting regularly on Twitter and/or Instagram. The group includes two patient advocates, an oncology nurse, and four bilingual members who will be posting in Portuguese and Spanish.

Don’t miss the lively and substantive social media conversation—last year, 15,186 Twitter users sent nearly 80,000 tweets using the #ASCO19 hashtag, with approximately 580 tweets an hour!

Read ASCO20 Virtual News and Commentary From Trusted ASCO Sources

ASCO Daily News offers exclusive coverage of ASCO20 Virtual sessions, expert commentary on clinical issues, updates on ASCO guidelines, and other Society and Association news.

The 2020 ASCO Educational Book includes articles authored by the Education Program faculty and other invited experts. Topics cover the most compelling research and newest standards of care in the field, with the goal of improving patient care and value.

Looking Ahead: ASCO20 Virtual Education Program

ASCO will host the second part of ASCO20 Virtual, the Virtual Education Program, on August 8-10. Registered attendees will receive access to the ASCO20 Virtual Education Program at no additional charge.

The Annual Meeting Education Committee used the meeting’s theme to select sessions that recognize the inherent value of a diversity of voices, offer opportunities to hear perspectives that are not routinely represented (including those of patients and regulators), remember that medicine and science do not happen in a vacuum and drug development is a global endeavor, and focus on future thinking. The program, which is being finalized, will include popular sessions such as ASCO Voices, ASCO Book Club, and lectures by 2020 ASCO Special Award recipients, as well as timely educational content on COVID-19 and cancer care.

“This year’s Education Program is designed to inform and inspire Annual Meeting participants to improve the lives of people with cancer,” said Education Committee chair Tatiana M. Prowell, MD. “A particular focus this year will be the amplification of diverse voices and perspectives in our field. In many of these sessions, we will explore the connections in oncology that make progress possible, whether we are extending a hand to a colleague in a different specialty, to a collaborator across the ocean, or to one of the many altruistic patients partnering with us to advance discovery. Reflecting on Dr. Burris’ call to unite and conquer, I am reminded that the finest work we do in medicine, we do together.”

Visit the ASCO20 Virtual website to register, review abstracts, browse the program of scheduled events, and find more information on continuing education credit, virtual networking, answers to frequently asked questions, and more.

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