Tumor Heterogeneity, Plasticity and Therapy

We are pleased to announce the first edition of the VIB Conference ‘Tumor heterogeneity, plasticity and therapy’. This international conference will take place May 5-6, 2021 in the beautiful historic city of Leuven.

Tumors are complex and evolving ecosystems composed of a wide variety of cell types, in addition to the cancer cells themselves. Increasing evidence indicates that the bi-directional interplay between tumor cells and their tumor microenvironment shape tumor evolution and therapy resistance.

Within a tumor, many cancer cells differ from each at the (epi-)genomic, transcriptional and proteomic level, as well as phenotypically and functionally. Tumor heterogeneity represents a major hurdle for therapy, which may only target a subset of tumor cells. In addition, cancer cell plasticity permits rapidly adaption to therapeutics and development of tolerance and resistance, presenting additional challenges for both targeted and immunotherapies.

During this conference a range of world leaders from academia and industry will discuss the latest developments in basic research, translational and clinical research and therapeutic avenues, in the following sessions:

  • Plasticity in initiation, progression and metastasis
  • Heterogeneity and reprogramming of the tumor immune- and microenvironment
  • Adaptation and resistance to targeted therapies
  • Adaptation and resistance to immunotherapies

Information for poster submissions:
The format for your poster should be: A0 (841 x 1189 mm / 33.1 x 46.8 in), portrait orientation. The best two posters will be rewarded with the VIB poster prize! The deadline for the abstracts is 12 March 2021. The best four abstracts were given a short talk slot in the plenary program. The best poster will win the Nature Poster Prize.

Travel Grants
We offer 5 travel grants to international attendees, which will reimburse travel costs up to 400 Euros. Are you interested in attending THPT20 and want to have a chance on a travel grant? Submit your motivation below by clicking on the 'Apply for a grant' button before 26 February 2021. The organizing committee will notify you of your travel grant acceptance on 5 March 2019. No registration is needed before submitting a travel grant proposal. When you’re awarded with a travel grant you will receive a practical email containing the next steps. Note that being awarded a travel grant does not mean being registered for the conference. Scroll down to apply for your grant


  • Travel grants deadline: 26 February 2021
  • Abstract deadline: 12 March 2021
  • Early bird deadline: 26 April 2021
  • Final registration: 23 April 2021


  • Leila Akkari, Netherlands Cancer Institute, NL
  • Salvador Aznar-Benitah, Stem Cells and Cancer Lab, Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), ES
  • Fred de Sauvage, Genentech, US
  • Caroline Dive, University of Manchester, UK
  • Sarah-Maria Fendt, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, BE
  • Thomas Gajewski, University of Chicago, US
  • Jerome Galon, INSERM, Laboratory of Integrative Cancer Immunology, Sorbonne Universite, Paris, FR
  • Colin Goding, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • Johanna Joyce, University of Lausanne (Lausanne, CH
  • Ilaria Malanchi, Francis Crick Institute, UK
  • Michelle Monje, Stanford University, US
  • Anna Obenauf, Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, AT
  • Erika Pearce, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IE) in Freiburg, DE
  • Charles Swanton, Francis Crick Institute & UCL Cancer Institute, London, UK
  • Itay Tirosh, Weizmann Institute of Science, IL
  • Zemin Zhang, BIOPIC, College of Life Sciences, and Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, Peking University, Beijing, CN



Naamsestraat 22
3000 Leuven, Belgium
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