SAINT PETER, Minn. (September 30, 2020) — The 56th annual Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College, Cancer in the Age of Biotechnology, will take place October 6-7, 2020. Typically held on campus in front of a live audience of nearly 5,000 attendees, the 2020 Nobel Conference will take place in a virtual format due to COVID-19. The two-day event and additional resources are free to all.

Nobel Conference 56 will explore the science of new cancer treatments, the structural and societal factors that will determine who has access to these life-saving treatments, and the therapies and practices that will enable people to live with cancer for the long term. “While it will, in some ways, be nothing like conferences of the past, the heartbeat of The Nobel Conference will remain the same,” Nobel Conference Director and Professor of Philosophy Lisa Heldke said.

Carl June, MD, Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center and pioneer in gene therapy for cancer treatment. June’s lab developed Kymriah, the first FDA-approved gene therapy treatment for cancer.

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD, AT&T Distinguished Endowed Chair in Cancer Equity and Dean of Assessment, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement at The Medical University of South Carolina. Hughes-Halbert’s work focuses on cancer health disparities and equitable approaches to treatment moving forward.

James Thomas, PhD, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Biotherapeutics, and President of U.S. Operations for Just-Evotec Biologics, who will talk about global access to biologic therapeutics.

Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, Penn State Cancer Institute and Penn State Department of Public Health Sciences, will discuss how precisely-prescribed exercise and nutrition can support the health of cancer patients.

Suzanne Chambers, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Health at the University of Technology Sydney, who addresses cancer as a global phenomenon with sociocultural influences and implications by exploring geographic disparities, economic aspects, and how knowledge moves — or doesn’t move — from research labs to clinical settings.

Charles Sawyers, MD, Chair of Human Oncology and the Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will discuss his development of Gleevec (imatinib), a therapeutic cancer treatment that blocks signals for cells to divide by molecularly targeting abnormal proteins.

Bissan Al-Lazikani, PhD, Head of Data Science at the Institute for Cancer Research in London, will lecture on the impact that “big data” and artificial intelligence are having on cancer treatment.

full suite of digital resources is also available, including a new Nobel Conference podcast, short videos on the “basics” of cancer by Gustavus students, mini-lectures on the history of cancer by Helen King, PhD, Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at the Open University in England, cancer stories focusing on personal impact, yoga for cancer sessions, and cooking videos featuring recipes selected using American Cancer Society dietary guidance. Distance learners and lifelong learners alike are encouraged to take advantage of these offerings.
The 2020 Nobel Conference is free and open to all in a virtual format. The Nobel Conference will be livestreamed on the Nobel Conference website beginning on Tuesday, October 6 at 10:30 a.m. A full schedule is available online.

Following the dedication of the Alfred Nobel Hall of Science in 1963 at Gustavus, the Nobel Foundation granted approval for an annual science conference to be held at the College. For five decades, Gustavus has organized and hosted The Nobel Conference, which typically draws about 4,500 people to the college campus in Saint Peter, Minn. The conference links a general audience, including high school students and teachers, with the world’s foremost scholars and researchers in discussion centered on contemporary issues relating to the natural and social sciences. The Nobel Conference is the first ongoing educational conference of its kind in the United States. It is made possible through income generated by a Nobel Conference Endowment and the support of annual conference contributors.