Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts tagged ‘immunosuppression’

It has to be said that this is one of the most jam-packed ESMO schedules that I’ve seen in a while!

Usually one has a few sessions they are interested in and lots of ‘free’ time to conduct interviews. That is definitely not the case this year with even parallel sessions at the same time as the Presidential (plenary) symposia, making for some very hard choices that need to be made.


Immune suppression can take the form of many targets – just taking out one of them may not be enough

As we start to see a renewed focus evolve on how to make immunotherapy work in or help more patients, there has been much attention on what we can learn from the addition of chemotherapy, additional checkpoint targets, immune agonists, various innate targets from KIR and NK cell checkpoints to TLRs and STING, neoantigen and dendritic cell vaccines, a telephone directory of cytokines, oncolytic viruses, etc etc to name a few, all with varying degrees of success.

What about exploring the inhibitory factors that induce immune suppression?  If we can reduce the cloaking and hostile tumour microenvironment, would that lead to more effectiveness with checkpoint blockade?  Maybe, maybe not.

In principle, it’s a sound idea yet these factors are both broad and incredibly varied in scope as a topic as to seem overwhelming at first.  The good news is that there are some emerging targets and hints of activity to come that are slowly beginning to emerge, making ESMO a good place from which to take stock of some new early stage developments.

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We’re continuing our series following the development of novel cutting edge strategies targeting gamma delta (𝞬𝝳) T cells, with a look at the two approaches Puretech Health are pursuing based on the research of Dr George Miller (NYU Langone).

Data was presented at #AACR19 for a first-in-class immunotherapy targeting immune-suppressive delta 1 containing 𝞬𝝳 T cells and one targeting Galectin–9.

Drs Panchenko and Filipovic at their AACR19 poster

We recently spoke with Dr Aleksandra Filipovic, therapeutic lead for oncology at Puretech Health, she’s pictured right with Dr Tatyana Panchenko from NYU Langone at their AACR poster.

Dr Filiopovic told BSB that Puretech are looking for the next big IO breakthrough:

“We looked at this landscape and the massive amount of trials going on. We said ok, if we’re going to go into the space of immuno-oncology, what is it that we need to do differently in order to, upfront, try and ensure that we’re going after targets which could be the next PD–1. Our thinking went along the lines that we would really need to identify those next checkpoints, those next foundational modulators of the immune system.”

This is the first of two interviews from #AACR19 on novel strategies to target 𝞬𝝳 T cells, an emerging area that companies are looking at with both antibody and adoptive cellular therapy approaches. Do check out our previous mini-series if you missed it.

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Atlanta: There is no shortage of innovative and potentially ground-breaking science on display at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) that’s currently taking place in Atlanta.

AACR19 Poster Hall melee yesterday afternoon

What is noticeable this year is the large number of scheduling conflicts, i.e. interesting sessions or symposia all going on in parallel and that’s not including the poster sessions, where much of the early work is presented – you could spend much of the meeting in the poster hall alone!

It’s impossible for any outlet to do the meeting justice, so our selection of topics is subjective in nature.

We’ll be posting interviews and more in-depth pieces later, but in this post we take a look at what stood out for us in the Friday/Saturday education sessions we attended and in Sunday oral symposia.

As Frank Sinatra famously sang, “The best is yet to come,” with a tsunami of presentations and posters slated to be heard over the next few days.

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View from Stars and Stripes life guard hut on Miami Beach

Our latest article is part Journal Club entry for August, part look back at some data from AACR and ASCO plus a part look at a relatively new target from an obscure biotech that caught my attention recently.

To do this, we pose three critical questions and attempt to answer them.

The targets and markers chosen for review here may well surprise a few people.

If we want to understand how to help more people respond to cancer immunotherapy then we need o understand the underlying biology and the tumour microenvironment in greater depth than we currently do.

Gradually, we are getting more clarity on a few areas as new data is being published…

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