Last week we talked about finding ways to make the T cells work harder and smarter – there are numerous ways to do this, but cytokines might be one interesting way to begin the search.
What about NK and other immune cells though, can we do the same with these too?
This week we are focusing on various cell therapy approaches with some academic and industry interviews to share, along with some analysis of arising issues as well as some new developments to review and discuss.
In the first of the series, we have an academic thought leader in the spotlight who had a few interesting points to make on novel cell therapies…
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There’s a lot of hype and noise of late surrounding the Iovance TIL therapy licensed under a CRADA from the NCI based on Dr Steven Rosenberg’s work.
Another Brick in the Wall for TIL therapies?
A few years ago many acadenics vehemently argued that TILs wouldn’t go much further than metastatic melanomas (cutaneous or uveal) and certainly there were dramatic responses seen from the before, during and after photos, as anyone who attended AACR in 2013 will attest.
Seven years on, the TIL topic is back in fashion again – is the hype justified or are the plaudits based more on a wing and a prayer?
We have some firm views to share on this topic…
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The Francis Crick Institute in London has an admirable program of engagement with the public and external researchers.
Attending a Crick Lecture recently presented by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Chief Scientific Officer, Prof Karen Vousden CBE FRS, reminded me of my days as a PhD student at nearby King’s College London.
Regular BSB readers will recall that Prof Charles Swanton FRS is the Chief Clinician of CRUK.
In her Crick lecture, Prof Vousden elegantly explained to the audience why p53 mattered and how it might be targeted by small molecules.
What is the potential of this research for translational drug development? In this post, we take a look at new developments in the basic understanding of what p53 does, the current state of targeting p53 and Prof Vousden’s latest approaches.
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View from Stars and Stripes life guard hut on Miami Beach
Our latest article is part Journal Club entry for August, part look back at some data from AACR and ASCO plus a part look at a relatively new target from an obscure biotech that caught my attention recently.
To do this, we pose three critical questions and attempt to answer them.
The targets and markers chosen for review here may well surprise a few people.
If we want to understand how to help more people respond to cancer immunotherapy then we need o understand the underlying biology and the tumour microenvironment in greater depth than we currently do.
Gradually, we are getting more clarity on a few areas as new data is being published…
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Philadelphia: Biotech Strategy Blog is in Philadelphia for the AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Conference (aka known as ‘The Triple’) that starts today and goes on over the weekend until Monday.
Molecular Targets has always been one of my favourite meetings!
Coming here is a reminder that despite the excitement and promise of immunotherapy, there is a lot still happening in cancer research on targeted therapies, as well as the intersection of the two. I expect many of the thought leaders here to be talking about the challenge of how do we combine targeted therapy with immmunotherapy to best effect.
I don’t think there will be much on social media since much of the work discussed here is unpublished and we don’t tweet that, but if you do want to follow along, the Twitter hashtag is the memorable #Targets17. There’s also an app you can download to see the full program etc.
For BSB subscribers, over the weekend we’ll be providing a daily summary post at the end of each day on key topics, issues, and themes we’ve picked up during the meeting.
Today, there was a press conference at 9.15am with the three meeting co-chairs:
What did Drs Ribas, Gulley and Swanton have to say about what we can expect from the meeting and some of the key themes and noteworthy abstracts presented?
Stay tuned for more!
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EBCC-10 Cancer Conference
Amsterdam: The 2016 European Breast Cancer Conference organised by the European CanCer Organization (ECCO) is underway (Twitter: #EBCC10 – it’s the 10th official one they have organised).
We thought it would be a good opportunity to take a break from our coverage of #BMTTandem16 to look at some of the posters that are of interest at the meeting.
As regular readers know, we spend a lot of time reading posters – it’s where we pick up new trends and early data. Most go unnoticed or unpublicised in press releases.
For this post, I’ve highlighted four posters that I’m quite interested in and that merit further discussion.
They range from basic and translational research to clinical new product development. By chance, they are evenly split between immunotherapy (PD-L1 and TILs) and acquired drug resistance to different targeted therapies.
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Aloha! It will soon be time to pack your Hawaiian shirts for the forthcoming BMT Tandem Meeting in Hawaii (Twitter #BMTTandem16 – what a long hashtag!!)
Commonly known as “Tandem,” it’s the combined annual meetings of the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT).
Hawaii is great location for a meeting in February, and one that I’m sure will generate a lot of envy for those who can’t attend and are stuck in the winter cold and chill. Who said we don’t go the “extra mile” for BSB subs?
One of the presentations I’m looking forward to hearing at Tandem is by Ann Leen, PhD, who is an Associate Professor at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr Leen will be talking about “Immunotherapy for Lymphoma using T cells Targeting Multiple Tumor-Associated Antigens.”
At last December’s ASH annual meeting, Dr Leen presented preliminary data with this novel approach in patients with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). After her ASH presentation, she kindly spoke to BSB.
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The 30th anniversary meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (Twitter #SITC2015) starts today at National Harbor, MD just outside of Washington DC.
Congratulations to SITC on 30 years of Advancing Cancer Immunotherapy Worldwide!
It’s an unusually packed conference season this month with the AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets (#Targets15) meeting in Boston unfortunately clashing with SITC 2015. In previous years, the Triple meeting has been held in late October, something we hope it will return to in future.
Many of the leading cancer immunologists are at National Harbor…
In our latest conference preview post, we’ve taken a quick look at some of the late breaker and poster abstracts of note and will cover the main oral presentations at the end of each day, so do check back daily for more news and views.
As subscribers already know, we generally provide most of our commentary and analysis after a meeting when we’ve had a chance to hear the data, “kick the tyres” and talk to researchers. However, for those who can’t be at SITC, we will be writing a “top-line”post at the end of each day to give you a flavor of what’s hot at SITC 2015 and our initial impressions of the data we heard.
We typically generate a separate page for each conference we cover, so you can find the SITC 2015 coverage here; it includes some additional posts that make for background reading.
Wednesday’s program at National Harbor starts off with a Global Regulatory Summit (which we’ll miss due to travel) and an International Symposium on Cancer Immunotherapy later in the afternoon.
The weather looks like it’s going to be quite delightful at National Harbor – hopefully the meeting room won’t be as frigid as last year – and in addition to the great science, we’re look forward to meeting up with those of our subs who are here too!
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At the recent American Association of Immunology (AAI) and American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) meetings in New Orleans, we had the good fortune to interview a number of leading cancer immunologists about their work. Some of these have already been published either here on Biotech Strategy Blog, or on the Novel Targets podcast.
In the meantime, the huge tsunami of data from the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) hit and we have been a bit backlogged! Time to address that and focus on some more thoughtful reflections about where the cancer immunotherapy field is going.
Already, we are seeing another round of new collaborations and deals hit the newswires with AstraZeneca announcing two collaborations, one with Inovio on the INO–3112 HPV cancer vaccine and another with Heptares, where they acquired the exclusive global rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist, HTL–1071. The first involves a cancer vaccine and the second immune escape mechanisms. Not to be outdone, their rivals Clovis also announced a collaboration with Genentech to explore rociletinib (EGFR T790M) with atezoliumab (anti-PD-L1) in EGFR mutation-positive lung cancer.
Cancer vaccines have not, however, been a very successful or fertile area of R&D for Pharmaland to date, with only one such therapy approved by the FDA (sipuleucel-T or Provenge) and literally hundreds of other such compounds consigned to dog drug heaven. This illustrates the sheer enormity of the task we need to undertake in stimulating the body’s immune system to successfully attack the cancer in a sustained and robust way.
Dr Rosenberg, NCI
Despite this setback, there is still notable interest in exploring the innate immune system and finding effective ways to target and stimulate the T cells or T lymphocytes to attack the cancer.
One man who has accomplished an incredible body of work over the last two to three decades is Dr Steven Rosenberg from the NCI’s Surgery Branch (right).
No one who attended any of the cancer conferences where he spoke at over the last year is ever going to forget the dramatic before and after slides of remarkable transformation in his patient case history examples using Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TILs) as this example illustrates:
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Over the last two years we’ve written extensively about chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies, checkpoint inhibitors and immune agonists (stimulants), yet these aren’t the only novel immunotherapies that are being developed to target cancer cells.
One area that hasn’t received a lot of attention is adoptive cell transfer (ACT) and therapeutic tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs).
- What exactly are these approaches and what progress has taken place so far?
- Where is this field going in the near future?
To answer these questions, we put together a primer based on the groundbreaking research of Dr Steven Rosenberg (NCI Surgical Branch), and his invited talk at the recent American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting.
As Rosenberg himself noted, what they’re doing is pretty daunting and yet, results so far have shown some impressive responses in some patients, especially those with metastatic melanoma, but other cancers have also responded well to this novel approach.
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