Fans of Harry Potter, will no doubt be familiar with the Goblet of Fire (“La Coupe de Feu” in the French version) and how it was used to select the champions from three schools of magic who would compete against each other in a tournament.
The metaphor of fire is very apt when it comes to cancer immunotherapy, as we’re often seeking to either create or optimally target an inflamed tumour microenvironment.
In this post were looking at how prior research and an understanding of science can sometimes lead to an unexpected contender in the “Goblet of Fire” that is early stage cancer drug development. Could the contender end up as the new champion AKA standard of care?
As in the Harry Potter story, there are trials that have to be conducted and overcome along the way, and until the data reads out there is uncertainty as to how the story will end.
Intrigued? Do read on…
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National Harbor – Missing the Fall colours!
As we get into the final swing of the Fall cancer conference season, at SITC this weekend there was much to think about in terms of early stage oncology drug development.
Still, it did feel rather surreal not to be in Maryland at the Gaylord National Centre in National Harbor for a live meeting this year, especially considering this particular specialist IO meeting tends to be held in a small jam-packed hall with nary an empty seat to be had!
I thought it would be fun to focus on an area which is slowly receiving more attention, with at least one sub category actually beginning to look quite promising indeed…
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It’s time for an update on TLRs – Toll-like receptors – as a way of igniting the fire of the tumour microenvironment. We have repeatedly seen how only a minority of patients respond to immune checkpoint blockade and how there are a multitude of reasons for why this is the case.
In some patients, the immune response is stalled in some way, thereby necessitating a jumpstart. Reasons for this might include lack of recognition of the cancer cells, poor antigen presentation, immunosuppression, immune escape and so on.
In other words, we need more firepower and novel rational combination approaches to stimulating both the innate and the adaptive immune systems in order to derive a more potent and durable response in a larger number of patients. That’s where TLR agonists come in.
As always in oncology R&D, there have been some failures already but we have also seen more promising compounds emerge as well as improved understanding of the science behind the immune system defects that occur in cancer.
Armed with this knowledge, will the current crop of molecules produce better results? To find out, we took at look at some of the recently available data and also interviewed an emerging new company in this niche to learn more about their quite different approach to the challenges…
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