This week the conference cycle continues with the annual meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) (Twitter #ASGCT20).
Due to the ongoing travel challenges and need for social distancing as result of Covid–19, one key annual immunology meeting originally slated for this month was AAI in Honolulu, which was sadly cancelled. Fortunately, ASGCT is being held as a live virtual meeting instead, so do check it out if you have a keen interest in this field.
One area we’re hoping to learn more about at ASGCT20 is cell therapy using natural killer (NK) cells. It’s an exciting and emerging area, which is attracting a lot of interest of late.
Those following the NK cell space will no doubt have seen the recent announcement of the collaboration between Kite/Gilead and Melbourne based oNKo-innate, co-founded by Prof Nick Huntington (@Dr_Nick_Bikes) and Dr Jai Rautella (Link to PR).
Other NK focused companies in the news include the licensing by Avectas of the CAR-NK cell therapy from Galway based ONK Therapeutics, founded by Prof Mike O’Dwyer (@MichaelodwyerMD) (Link to PR).
It’s definitely an exciting time to be an NK cell biologist!
In our ongoing series of expert interviews, we caught up with Prof Huntington from Melbourne to talk about the potential of CAR-NK cell therapies.
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Cancer immunotherapy has been very much focused on T cells of late, but perhaps we shouldn’t ignore the importance of the innate aspect of the immune system and how that might help generate cytolytic activity to help kill cancer cells.
Regular readers will know that we’ve been following the potential of Natural Killer (NK) cell therapy and targeting NK checkpoints.
Sculpture in Mainz
At the recent CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR international cancer immunotherapy conference in Mainz, we spoke with a scientist active in NK cancer immunotherapy research.
Dr Nicholas Huntington (@Dr_Nick_Bikes) leads a laboratory at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. He’s also co-founder of oNKo-innate, a startup company focused on developing innate immunotherapies.
After his presentation in Mainz, he kindly spoke to BSB about his NK cell research and its potential as a novel target for cancer immunotherapy.
Here’s a short excerpt from our discussion:
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