Session Descriptions

Session descriptions will be added as the information is provided. Please check this page regularly for updated information. For a complete outline of the program, please visit the Program at a Glance page.


 Click on the links below to be directed to specific days:


Friday, April 23

Opening Plenary

08:30 – 09:30 EDT (1 hour)

The Basics of Cancer Immunotherapy

Elaine Vickers, Science Communicated Ltd, United Kingdom
Immunotherapy is an important treatment option for many people with cancer. But, for those who haven’t studied immunology, it can be a daunting subject. 
Using colourful diagrams and drawing on many years’ experience as a communicator and educator, Dr Elaine Vickers will introduce the scientific concepts that are central to this topic. 
She will firstly describe the complicated relationship between cancer cells and the immune system and explain how the body can identify and destroy cancer cells. She will also clarify how different types of cancer immunotherapy enhance these processes. 
Elaine will also describe the biology of T cells and unpick why these white blood cells are the focus of many different forms of immunotherapy, including checkpoint inhibitors, treatment vaccines and CAR-modified T cells. Lastly, Elaine will provide insights into how our use of immunotherapies might change in the coming years. 

Learning objectives
After the presentation, learners should:

  1. Understand how our immune system protects us against cancer.
  2. Appreciate why our immune system sometimes fails to recognise and destroy cancer cells.
  3. Be familiar with various different types of immunotherapy and understand how each one creates or boosts cancer-fighting immune responses.
  4. Have an appreciation of why immunotherapy sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, and why it causes side effects.
  5. Be aware of various strategies to improve on current immunotherapies for the benefit of future cancer patients.


Concurrent Session

09:45 – 10:30 (45 minutes)

Late Effects of Chemotherapy

Nikki Blosser, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Canada

As survival outcomes continue to improve, patients with cancer are living longer resulting in an increased incidence of late effects from treatment. In addition, the development of new drug classes with novel mechanisms of action has given rise to the occurrence of late effects that differ from those seen with traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy. This presentation will provide an overview of the long term toxicities of chemotherapy and will focus on morbidities where pharmacy practitioners can have a significant impact in improving patient’s quality of life following treatment. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the delayed medical conditions that are commonly associated with different chemotherapy medications.
  2. Discuss recommended monitoring parameters for patients who have received specific types of chemotherapy.
  3. Identify patients at high risk of developing secondary malignancies as well as prevention and surveillance measures that should be implemented post-therapy.
  4. Compare the risks of developing comorbidities in patients who have received high-dose myeloablative chemotherapy compared to the general population.



11:30 – 12:15 EDT (45 minutes)

The Role of the Pharmacist in CAR-T Cell Therapy

Joan Vinent Genestar, Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, Spain

Administration of CAR T cell therapy is a complex endevour requiring coordination and communication of various healthcare teams. CAR T cell therapies are classed as advanced therapy medicinal products and as such, pharmacists are required to play a role in each stage of this process encompassing clinical, operational and medicines management issues.
Pharmacists are required to ensure that governance arrangements in line with the safe and secure handling of medicines are in place to manage these medicines within their organizations. They are also key members of the multidisciplinary CAR T committee ensuring that these therapies will be used within the clinical indication.

There is a role for the pharmacist in ensuring that the risks, particularly around tracking and traceability, are minimized. Reception of the commercial CAR T cell product, storage, thawing, final packing before administration and delivery to the ward are under the responsibility of the Pharmacy. If for operational reasons are taken by the Cell Therapy Unit, an agreement between the two parties will be necessary. 
CAR T cell therapy require patient preparation with a lympho-depletive chemotherapy prior the infusion. Bridging chemotherapy may also be required for patients with aggressive disease. Pharmacists will ensure that all these treatments will be prepared and dispensed safely in a timely manner. Additionally, pharmacists will participate in the monitoring and managing CAR T cell toxicities and will ensure that medicines required these complications will be available 24/7.  

The emergence of commercial CAR T cell therapies has been an opportunity for growth and development of our profession. Pharmacists are being recognized an essential member of the multidisciplinary team responsible for treating patients receiving CAR T therapy. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the CAR T cell therapy multi step complex process in a hospital.
  2. Describe the clinical, operational and management challenges of CAR T cell therapies for hospital pharmacies. 
  3. Identity the various roles of a clinically trained pharmacist in CAR T cell therapy.

Saturday, April 24



08:00 - 09:00 EDT (1 hour)

Global perspectives on the effects of COVID-19 on oncology pharmacy practice and the cancer patient

Marliese Alexander, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Australia
Pinkie Chambers, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom

This session includes two presentations of international data describing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer treatment delivery. In the first presentation, data from a study led by the University College London describes guidelines, policies and strategies for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on oncology patients and the delivery of anticancer therapies. In the second presentation, data from a study led by the International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners focuses on the impact that COVID-19 has had on oncology pharmacy service delivery, oncology pharmacy practitioners and oncology practice.  

  1. Understand the impact of changes (quantity/type) to anticancer treatments.
  2. Understand the rationale driving decisions to implement changes to anticancer treatments.
  3. Identify commonly employed social distancing and shielding strategies.
  4. Identify major and rapid changes implemented to minimise disruption to oncology pharmacy practice activities.
  5. Recognise workforce and practitioner impacts (hours/leave/furloughing/mental health) incurred during the pandemic.
  6. Reflect on practice changes implemented during the pandemic and how leaders may use learnings to shape the future of the oncology pharmacy profession.

Hot Topic Discussions led by facilitators

10:30 – 11:30 EDT (1 hour)

Advocating for the Advancement of Pharmacy Technician Practice

Facilitator: Chandra Maraj, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, UK

New roles are enabling Pharmacy Technicians to provide cross cover support to Pharmacists as well as enrich and support their own professional growth and development.

  • Due to their level of knowledge and experience technicians have been able to take on more tasks and responsibilities that have previously just been undertaken by Pharmacists.
  • This is an exciting and encouraging time for Technicians. Not only can a clear progression path be seen, but new roles have emerged emphasizing the benefits of specialising in cancer medicines.
  • These advanced technicians can be seen to be good role models for the team, and nationally.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use in Cancer Patients

Facilitator: Garbiñe Lizeaga, Hospital Universitario Donostia, Spain

Many cancer patients use complementary and alternative medicines. Dietary treatments, herbal medicinal products, and various food supplements are currently being promoted as treatment “enhancers” or directly cures.  Oncology pharmacist should approach these treatments from a scientific point of view focusing on patients safety first, always listening and avoiding those products interfering with planned therapeutic treatments. Oncology pharmacist should be should be knowledgeable about the most popular remedies and know where to find reliable information for themselves and for their patients.

One dose to rule them all: novel dosing strategies for immune checkpoint inhibitors

Facilitator: Alison Palumbo, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), USA

This will be a round table discussion about immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) dosing.  Originally approved as weight-based dosing, some checkpoint inhibitors are now approved or licensed to be given as a flat dose.  Additionally, extended dosing intervals for ICI are becoming more popular in clinical practice.  Here we will discuss the data behind these strategies as well as possible clinical controversies with these approaches.

Resilience for Healthcare Professionals

Facilitator: Maria Anwar, Alberta Health Services, Canada

This facilitated workshop will support participants to identify, examine and help improve areas of personal resilience through reflection, vulnerability, wholehearted storytelling and sharing. A resilience toolkit and additional resources will also be provided. 

Participants are invited to complete and bring the results of the “How resilient are you?” quiz to the workshop with them, which can be found here

COVID-19 Vaccination in Oncology Patients


Rajinder Nijjar, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK 
Calum Polwart, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Durham, UK 
Nisha Shaunak, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

There are several controversies around immunosuppressed SACT patients receiving the covid-19 vaccination, including the timing of the first and second dose, the efficacy in relation to the type of cancer & SACT received and patients who may have allergies to the vaccine excipients. 
The UK have led on a highly successful vaccination programme since December 2020 and over half of the UK population have now been vaccinated, including an large majority of clinically vulnerable SACT patients. The facilitators of the session are all authors of the UK paper 'Clinician FAQs And Guidance On Covid-19 Vaccine For Patients Receiving Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT).' This has been published and is available on the UK Chemotherapy Board website.

Join the open discussion to learn more about how SACT patients and the covid-19 vaccination.