Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘Jeff Rathmell’

What do T cells want?

In the third post in our summer mini-series on immunometabolism, we’re continuing our journey by taking a look at glutamine as a target, and in particular, the potential of glutaminase inhibitors.

Cancer cells compete with immune cells for glucose and glutamine in the tumor microenvironment, and if the cancer cell wins then immuno-surveillance and anti-tumour immune response can be diminished. Of interest, glutamine addiction is commonly seen in cultured cancer cells.

This begs a critical question – can we target glutamine therapeutically in patients, and if so, what happens?

In this article we highlight an expert interview with Dr Jeffrey Rathmell, who is Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt, where he directs the Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology.

Dr Rathmell is at the forefront of research into T cell fuels such as glutamine and has published preclinical work on early compounds in this niche, including Calithera’s glutaminase inhibitor, CB-839, for example.

He kindly spoke to BSB after the AACR20 virtual annual meeting where he chaired a session on Metabolism and the Tumor Microenvironment.

To learn more about the emerging area of immunometabolism and its translational potential, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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It’s the dog days of summer in August, traditionally a time when many of us go on holiday and while that’s more challenging in the uncertain times of COVID-19, we at BSB are taking a break for the next three weeks as we recharge/renew for a busy autumn of virtual meetings.

We won’t be writing much about topical news or recent data for the next few weeks, but instead, while we’re taking time out we’ve prepared a six-part mini-series looking at immunometabolism and its potential for cancer immunotherapy.  We’ve run this kind of series every summer over the last couple of years and they’ve worked out rather well.

One of the things we did on Seasons 3 and 4 of the Novel Targets Podcast was to look at topics involving emerging areas of complex research, where we often didn’t know all the answers yet there were emerging data worthy of time and attention. Immunometabolism is certainly a topic which meets those criteria – it’s been on our list to do a deeper dive into for a while and here we are now, with some extended time to make the most of the opportunity to do it some justice.

We’re obviously dating ourselves in that we used to write letters or send postcards to friends and family from our holidays, this mini-series is very much in that style.

To be clear, this is not intended to be a comprehensive review of absolutely everything in the landscape, instead we’ll be reviewing some of the key concepts, showcasing important papers, and highlighting data at AACR20 that caught our attention. There will also be mention of a few emerging biotech companies in the field and for good measure we have three interviews with scientists at the forefront of research, which may have excellent translational potential to the clinic.

By the end of our three-week journey together, hopefully you’ll gain a greater understanding of the new product development potential for cancer immunometabolism and be better placed to put into context new data as it steadily emerges over the coming months.

In this first post, let’s set the scene by looking at immunometabolism and the role it plays in the fate, function, and fitness of T cells.

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary on the emerging area of immunometabolism, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

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