Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’

One of the things that I’ve heard repeatedly over the last year is that many researchers want a better biomarker of response for checkpoint therapies than PD-L1 expression by IHC.

National Harbor

Indeed, we could expand that statement more broadly to say that there’s a real need for a better predictive biomarker of response to any immunotherapy, since there are more approaches out there now and not just checkpoint blockade. Plus combinations are evolving, complicating things further.

Fair enough, but what’s happening in this space?  Anything, Bueller?

We’ve covered a few emerging ideas in the past, although they were based on retrospective analysis – usually with a small N – and remain to be validated in prospective clinical trials.

There’s quite a few groups now much more active in research in this space, from academia to industry.  This is a good time to take stock and look at some of the emerging technologies that might be making a splash later if the data pans out.

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Last week we reviewed some of the promising oral late breaking abstracts and highlighted what to watch out for (W2W4) from our key selections.

National Harbor, DC

This week, it’s the turn of the poster late breakers to be in the spotlight.

There are several approaches worthy of highlighting, but as always, there are also some potential pitfalls for readers to be aware of.

After all, life in the oncology R&D fast lane is as never easy or predictable as the changing of the seasons.

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One of the biggest challenges that many people have in cancer research is spottng opportunities in a cosntantly swelling sea of data.

That situation gets ever more difficult as the year and cancer conference season goes on and a raft of new data evolves from not just monotherapy studies, but also combination trials.

Add in numerous tumour types and patient subsets…

And then there’s another layer (or five) of additional sophistication from newly emerging targets, different approaches undertaken and novel ideas explored.

Who want’s to play 3D chess?

It’s a little bit like slowly peeling an onion, strip by strip, until we get to the heart of the matter. This can take time. Meanwhile, preclinical data at previous meetings that many barely noticed at the time comes back to be looked at in a fresh light with newly emerging clinical data. And we start to see things quite diffferently with this new information.

Talking on the onion, we decided to kick off our annual SITC series ahead of the event next month with a look at five key presentations that should be interesting and advance the field in terms of potential impact.

National Harbor Maryland

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Dr Mario Sznol

Dr Mario Sznol at SITC 2015 Patient Forum

Novel Immunotherapies and Combinations” was the title of the talk by Dr Mario Sznol (Yale) at the recent Immunotherapy Patient Forum co-hosted by Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Organization (GRACE) and the Melanoma Research Alliance at the 2015 SITC annual meeting.

At the forum, Dr Sznol also led a breakout session, where he reviewed what is melanoma, the treatment of primary melanoma and management of advanced disease, as well as answering questions from the patients and patient advocates.

Often at medical meetings you hear the results of a clinical trial that is but one piece of the jigsaw, so it was interesting to hear a more comprehensive overview of the disease.

Dr Sznol kindly spoke with BSB about his vision for the future of cancer immunotherapies. This post includes excerpts from the interview along with additional commentary.

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TWashington DC in Fallhis 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.

SITC 2014 ProgramMany 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.

SITC 2014 Conference AppYou can download the preliminary program on the SITC 2014 Annual meeting website. There’s also an iphone/android app for those attending.

 

 

Conference Highlights: 

  • 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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