Mainz: At the third CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR international cancer immunotherapy conference held in Mainz recently, one of the emerging themes from an exciting and interesting meeting was novel cancer vaccines.
Despite the announcement last month that the Bavarian-Nordic phase 3 PROSTVAC trial in prostate cancer was futile (See post: PROSPECTing for nuggets with PROSTVAC in CRPC), therapeutic cancer vaccine research is experiencing a renaissance.
In this new mini-series, we’re featuring interviews with leading scientists and clinical researchers at the forefront of cancer vaccine research.
It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list of the “good and great,” as not all leaders in the field were actually in Mainz, but nonetheless we hope this series, like a series of postcards, captures some of the excitement along with challenges and opportunities facing researchers at present.
Up next is Professor Cornelius “Kees” Melief, who is Emeritus Professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands and Chief Scientific Officer of ISA Pharmaceuticals – where ISA stands for Immune System Activation.
Earlier this year, Professor Melief received a lifetime achievement award from the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) for his work in research in this niche.
He’s a global expert on cancer vaccine research. Ironically, back in July he published an editorial in Nature entitled, “Cancer: Precision T-Cell therapy targets tumors” that discussed some two letters on neoantigen cancer vaccine research from other thought leaders we have interviewed in this current mini-series, namely Dr Cathy Wu (Link) and Prof Ugur Sahin (Link).
While, in Mainz, Professor Melief kindly shared his thoughts on the field, where it is going, and how ISA Pharmaceuticals are looking to make a difference. Here’s an audio postcard for those interested in hearing a sample of what he had to say…
This is the fourth interview in our mini-series on the Future of Cancer Vaccines.
To learn more insights from our latest KOL interview on this intriguing topic, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.
One of the unintended consequences of the rise of cancer immunotherapy has been the fall in interest from patients who might be candidates for entry into clinical trials for other therapies, such as chemotherapy and targeted agents, for example.
A number of industry friends have uniformally expressed concern over how difficult it has been enroll such trials and bemoaned the broader – and often not anticipated – effect to the extent that some trials have even been terminated.
This situation often occurs, not because of lack of efficacy or severe side effects, but simply a lack of enthusiasm and low accrual rates. Quite a few patients consider chemo to be nothing short of ‘poison’ and don’t want anything to do with it as a result, unless it can be avoided.
Here’s my advice to those in this situation – stop moaning, start re-thinking, and re-positioning your agent in a different light to the investigators who enroll these studies. If they lack heart, in a highly competitive world, you have to stand out and thus, everything flows from the basic rationale of what you’re trying to accomplish.
What exactly do we mean by that?
Yesterday, we discussed one of the rate limiting steps in the cancer immunity cycle – getting more T cells into the tumours so that that subsequent immunotherapy can be even more effective.
One way to do that?
At AACR recently, we came across some intriguing ideas and approaches that are being discussed and explored, which may open many people’s eyes and minds. It rapidly became clear during discussions with several experts that all is not what it seems, and smart companies are already taking advantage of the new science that is emerging as well as a deeper understanding of the underlying biology of how the immune system behaves in cancer patients.
Here, we offer insights from our latest interview with a thought leader in the field for his perspective on how we can improve response rates and outcomes with cancer immunotherapy.
Fair warning: I must confess that it opened my own mind to fresh ideas and different approaches in an unexpected way – you may experience the same sentiments.
To learn more, subscribers can log-in below or you can purchase a subscription…