Dr Ira Mellman is a leading cancer researcher, familiar to many in cancer immunotherapy for his work on the Cancer-Immunity Cycle and Cancer-Immune Set-Point with Dr Dan Chen.
Prior to joining Genentech, he spent 20 years as a faculty member at Yale, publishing extensive research on dendritic cells.
River Rhine, Mainz
Last year, Genentech announced a strategic collaboration with Mainz based BioNTech in Germany to develop and manufacture personalized mRNA based cancer vaccines.
At the recent CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR cancer international cancer immunotherapy conference in Mainz, Dr Mellman kindly spoke to BSB about the underlying biology/immunology, the rationale behind the BioNTech collaboration, and his vision on where he sees the potential for therapeutic cancer vaccines going forward.
This is the second post in our series on the Future of Cancer Vaccines.
Here’s a snippet of the interview with Dr Mellman to get you warmed up…
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Picture Credit: @gene_antibody
For much of the last two years, one of the hottest topics around has been T cell manipulation, which can happen in many different forms.
This is just one area that we have covered extensively in the immuno-oncology space from Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapies to checkpoint inhibitors, as well as various antibodies, including the first bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) to CD19 that recently approved by the FDA called blinatumomab (Blincyto) from Amgen.
Not all cancer patients respond to all these approaches though.
Why is that and what approaches or novel targets can we explore next to address this vexing issue?
At the SITC and SABCS meetings, I saw some really interesting and unusual presentations, together with some recent publications on topic, that really piqued my interest in this challenge. They are early signs of the new directions some of the research in this field could go. Overcoming resistance and understanding different aspects of immune escape will likely be very instructive in developing the next generation of combination studies that could make a positive impact on patients.
Today’s post touches on some of these exciting developments and includes an in-depth interview with Dr Ira Mellman, the scientist behind Genentech’s immunology research program at gRED.
Interested readers can log-in to read more about the exciting new developments that are happening with different types of antibodies in the immuno-oncology space.