Dr Michel Sadelain at AACR 2016
Dr Michel Sadelain, Director of Cell Engineering at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York is a pioneer in the field of adoptive cell therapy.
Without his contribution, it is unlikely CAR T cell therapy would be where it is today.
He’s also President of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), whose annual meeting is currently underway in Washington DC from May 4 to 7 (Twitter #ASGCT16).
Recently at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Dr Sadelain gave an outstanding presentation on turbo-charged CAR T cells, and shared some of his ideas on how to move the field forward.
In New Orleans, he also kindly spoke to BSB, and discussed how he thinks cell therapy researchers may obtain the “holy grail” of getting CAR T cell therapies to work effectively in solid tumors.
Dr Sadelin is someone who wants to break the immunology rules!
Not surprisingly, Dr Sadelain is optimistic and doesn’t share the view expressed by Dr Steven Rosenberg on CAR T cell therapies being limited to mostly hematologic malignancies when we interviewed him a year ago at last year’s ASGCT meeting. There’s nothing like a friendly controversy to spice the field up!
If you haven’t already done so, do listen to Dr Rosenberg on Episode 5 of the Novel Targets Podcast (@TargetsPodcast).
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As we’re coming to the end of our European Association Urology (EAU) coverage for 2015, I wanted to discuss at a rather more quirky, off-the-wall topic and look at one of the gems from the poster halls at this conference.
This year, it’s the turn of urothelial bladder cancer (UBC), a topic that doesn’t usually get much coverage or respect when it comes to new product development. Part of the challenge is the need for new targets to aim at because the particular patient population doesn’t tolerate high dose chemotherapy very well.
At ASCO last year, perhaps the surprise (and most stunning) data of the meeting was the anti-PDL1 checkpoint data (Genentech’s MPDL3280A) in refractory UBC, a disease where there are a lot of elderly and frail patients who are challenging to treat in many ways. This certainly put more attention on the disease and raised awareness to the potential opportunities for new, targeted and altogether more benign approaches to treatment. Subsequently at ESMO last fall, we also saw early data for an anti-PD1 antibody (Merck’s pembrolizumab) in advanced urothelial cancer.
Checkpoint blockade is not the only potential way to treat UBC though, so what other novel therapeutics are in development in this space?
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