National Harbor, MD
Despite remarkable results with cancer immunotherapy to date, we do need to keep out feet on the ground and remember that response rates are relatively low to modest (10–30%) and the majority of patients do not respond or see a benefit with these approaches.
As we start moving beyond checkpoint monotherapy, the realisation has fast hit many researchers and companies that we really don’t know as much about the tumour microenvironment (TME) as we would like.
No doubt we will learn a lot more about it from the combinatory approaches, but be aware that this also means higher risk associated with such developments – we will likely see a lot of failures – and hopefully, some successes too.
This is where the little biotech companies have an opportunity to shine… they may have some intriguing IO compounds in development but not an anti-PD1/L1 backbone, meaning they can collaborate with a big pharma company to explore novel combinations in small phase 1/2 trials to determine what works or not. This is much lower risk (and R&D costs) for both parties and we get to see more quickly where things shake out.
At the annual Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting last week, there was a whole day devoted to New Immunotherapy Drug Development.
Some of these agents look worthy of watching out for and following their progress. A variety of data in different targets and MOA were presented from big and small companies alike. We selected a few of the promising ones for further review and discussion.
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Which of these cakes will you choose?
Greetings from Vienna where we are gearing up for our coverage of the European Cancer Congress (Twitter #ECC2015).
We’ll be writing a “highlights” post for subscribers at the end of the day here on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, then will follow- up with more in-depth coverage after we have talked with experts about the data presented.
Checkpoint Inhibitors and Cancer Immunotherapy are not surprisingly hot topics at the meeting.
In case you missed it, this month’s episode of Novel Targets (are we really on show #6 already?!) takes us on a new branch of the journey looking at various aspects of cancer immunotherapy:
Boosting T cell production – Stepping on the Gas
In past shows, we’ve looked at unlocking the brakes (checkpoint inhibitors), immune biomarkers (MDSCs and STING pathway), an inflamed or immunologic tumour type (lung cancer), a non-inflamed tumour type (prostate cancer), adoptive cell therapies and now it’s time for something really different… what happens when we literally step on the gas with immune agonists?
That’s the theme of the latest show – listen to Episode 6 on SoundCloud or iTunes (open access thanks to our sponsors, Genentech).
This article focuses on more detailed background and show notes for BSB subscribers.
It’s an important topic that is both simple in concept to understand and yet highly complex in terms of optimising therapy.
It’s time to take a deeper dive…
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