There has been a lot of enthusiasm in the immuno-oncology space since ASCO about the possibility of combining a checkpoint inhibitor with an immune stimulator. There are several ideas behind this approach since:
a) Not all patients respond to checkpoint inhibitors
b) Some patients only partially respond, although they can achieve an attenuated response before relapsing
An important question in many people’s mind is what is different about these subsets of patients compared to exceptional responders? How can we change that situation for the better?
Two approaches that have been mooted of late include the following:
- Using a cancer vaccine to ‘prime’ the tumour
- Combining a checkpoint inhibitor with an antibody agonist to stimulate the immune system
At SITC in Maryland this weekend, there were plenty of packed presentations and discussions on both of these classes of agents, so this is a good time to explore the idea of immune stimulators further based on the latest data we heard.
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This week sees the start of the 2014 annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) at National Harbor, MD.
Given the rapid progress that is taking place in the field of cancer immunotherapy, we’re excited to be flying up to DC to attend the meeting for the first time as part of our conference coverage.
Many of the leading translational scientists in immuno-oncology will be at SITC to discuss the current landscape, challenges and opportunities.
For all the promising results we’ve seen so far, harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer is very much a work a progress.
Don’t expect much from SITC on social media, most of the data is likely to be unpublished, which is why you have to go to meetings like SITC, ARVO and AACR in person. An important part of attending is the in-person conversations and connections that take place.
You can download the preliminary program on the SITC 2014 Annual meeting website. There’s also an iphone/android app for those attending.
- Addresses by the 2014 Richard V. Smalley, MD Memorial Award recipient, Giorgio Trinchieri, MD – National Cancer Institute and the Annual Meeting keynote speaker, Olivera J. Finn, PhD – University of Pittsburgh
- News on important initiatives and updates in cancer immunotherapy by key stakeholders in the field
- Workshop on Combination Immunotherapy: Where Do We Go From Here?
- Primer on Tumor Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy™
- Hot Topic Symposia on Managing Engineered T-Cell Toxicities & Accelerating Tumor Immunity with Agonist Antibodies.
If you haven’t already seen it, this educational video from Roche/Genentech, narrated by Dan Chen MD PhD (Cancer Immunotherapy Franchise Head) is not only educational in discussing the mechanism of action of their anti-PDL1 monoclonal antibody, MPDL3280A, but is highly fun and entertaining to watch. Enjoy!
Sally interviewed Dr Chen at ASCO this year for a blog post from the meeting on “Making a difference in advanced bladder cancer.”
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