IMMUNO-ONCOLOGY INSIGHTS

SPOTlights 2021

  • Understanding and overcoming mechanisms of tumor resistance
    Jan 2021

    Understanding and overcoming mechanisms of tumor resistance

    Brent Hanks
    Guest Editor:
    Brent Hanks, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology at Duke University
    Brent Hanks
    Brent Hanks
    Assistant Professor, Medicine, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology at Duke University
    Brent A. Hanks, M.D., Ph.D. is the William Dalton Family Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology in the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University with a dual appointment with the Duke Cancer Institute. Dr. Hanks completed his medical degree along with a Ph.D. in tumor immunology while in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Hanks went on to complete his internal medicine residency training and his hematology and oncology fellowship training at Duke University. He now manages a basic and translational research lab focusing on understanding biochemical mechanisms of tumor-mediated immune evasion and immunotherapy resistance in cancer. More recently, his lab is also exploring the underlying mechanisms associated with immunotherapy-associated toxicities. In addition to his research efforts, he is also a medical oncologist and manages patients with advanced skin cancers including melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma. Using an array of experimental techniques, his labs' research goals are to develop novel strategies to enhance the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitor and vaccine immunotherapy while also developing predictive biomarkers to better guide the management of cancer patients with immunotherapeutic agents.

    Assessing the prospects of various methods to model and modify the tumour microenvironment (TME)

    • Examining the challenges and latest progress in:
      • Means of tumor infiltration (incl. the burgeoning promise of nanotechnologies).
      • Understanding the role of and recruiting other immune cells in the TME.
    • Why do I-O patients relapse? How the immune system and cancer biology interact.
    • What role does the individual microbiome play?
    • Bispecifics vs. CAR T cell therapy: prospects of success in the solid tumor arena.

  • Modelling the I-O manufacturing facilities of tomorrow
    Apr 2021

    Modelling the I-O manufacturing facilities of tomorrow

    John Lunger
    Guest Editor:
    John Lunger, Chief Patient Supply Officer
    John Lunger
    John Lunger
    Chief Patient Supply Officer
    John Lunger has been Adaptimmune’s Chief Patient Supply Officer since August 2019. John leads the teams responsible for producing and delivering products to patients, accelerating supply execution, and optimizing the supply chain to be ready for commercialization. Previously, John was Head of Supply Chain and Commercial Product Supply at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals where he led clinical and commercial supply chain as well as the cross functional supply team for Merrimack’s first commercial product launched in October of 2015. Earlier in his career, he held various senior manufacturing, operational, and strategy roles with VWR International, Pfizer and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. In his nearly 10 years with Wyeth he held a number of leadership positions, including operations and supply chain strategy, supply management, procurement and strategic sourcing, business systems implementation, generic pharmaceutical business management, and site operations management in a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Ireland. John began his career serving as a nuclear trained officer on a U.S. Navy submarine followed by strategic consulting with Accenture. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree (with distinction) in Ocean Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MBA in economics and operations management from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

    How to increase their efficiency, flexibility and productivity in line with expected future trends in supply and demand

    • Increasing the productivity of tomorrow’s manufacturing facilities.
    • Next steps on the path to continuous manufacture of I-O therapeutics.
    • Flexibility: as the diversity of the I-O portfolio increases, how to develop bioprocess and manufacturing strategies that enable the production of different therapeutics.

  • Hunting for better biomarkers of response
    Jun 2021

    Hunting for better biomarkers of response

    Where is real progress being made in understanding why patients do and don’t respond to I-O therapeutics?

    • How enhanced understanding of the mechanisms of the immune system, tumor resistance, and I-O agents can improve targeting of patients.
    • Latest analytical methods and assays - how to drive standardization?
    • The future of personalized medicine/precision I-O in clinical routine.

  • Enhancing preclinical predictivity
    Jul 2021

    Enhancing preclinical predictivity

    Christian Schmees
    Guest Editor:
    Christian Schmees at University of Tuebingen
    Christian Schmees
    Christian Schmees
    at University of Tuebingen
    Christian Schmees is heading the Tumor Biology group at the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI) at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. He received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Tuebingen University in 2002. Since 2006 he holds a PhD (with highest honors) in cancer immunology from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. His thesis resulted in the identification of gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase as the major factor for T cell specific immune evasion of the tumorigenic bacterium Helicobacter pylori. As a post-doc he joined the laboratories of Carl-Henrik Heldin at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) in Uppsala, Sweden (2006-2010) and Philippe Bastiaens at the Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, Germany (2010-2011). He received fellowships from the German Research Foundation and the LICR to support his research on differential regulation of intracellular PDGF α- and β-receptor trafficking in cancer cells. In 2011 he joined the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tuebingen (NMI) as a senior scientist in tumor biology and was appointed Head of Tumor Biology in 2014. Ongoing projects in his group are focusing on the development of clinically relevant cellular model systems for drug development and target validation in translational oncology. These approaches are combined with gene editing and silencing technologies as well as protein profiling and immunophenotyping platforms for mode-of-action analyses of different compound classes. Dr. Schmees is member of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT).

    What is going wrong between preclinical in vitro/in vivo and clinical in vivo settings?

    • Preclinical/clinical treatment response prediction: which model systems can predict patient response to investigational molecules in practice?
    • Combination therapy development – which preclinical models and strategies can deliver insights into the prospects of given combinations, plus optimal timeframes and sequencing?
    • Comparing and contrasting the performance of various animal models in different tumor types.
    • Utility of patient-derived cellular model systems for preclinical compound efficacy testing.
    • Establishing a feedback loop: what lessons can we draw from negative outcomes from preclinical studies in the I-O space?

  • Leveraging cutting edge tools to convert I-O data into knowledge
    Sep 2021

    Leveraging cutting edge tools to convert I-O data into knowledge

    Jacques  Moisan
    Guest Editor:
    Jacques Moisan, Translational Innovation Platform - Immuno-Oncology Scientific Site Head (USA) at EMD Serono, Inc
    Jacques  Moisan
    Jacques Moisan
    Translational Innovation Platform - Immuno-Oncology Scientific Site Head (USA) at EMD Serono, Inc

    I-O discovery and development as driven by advances in bioinformatics and other technological innovation

    • How next generation sequencing (NGS) tools and technologies can improve knowledge of the underlying biology of I-O.
    • Single cell sequencing/analysis (e.g., transcriptomics, single cell RNAseq)
    • Exome sequencing.
    • High-plex/multiplex tools allowing spatial correlation (e.g., immunofluorescence).
    • Machine learning and big data analytics platforms for the integration and predictive leveraging of multiple data sets.
    • Synthetic biology and proteomics tools.
    • Non-invasive monitoring technologies (imaging).

  • Bioprocessing/CMC trends, tools and techniques

    Bioprocessing/CMC trends, tools and techniques

    Anurag Khetan
    Guest Editor:
    Anurag Khetan, Executive Director, Biologics Development
    Anurag Khetan
    Anurag Khetan
    Executive Director, Biologics Development

    How next-gen biopharma manufacturing solutions will drive improvements in process and product robustness

    • Benefits that emerging analytical tools can bring to antibody therapeutic biorocessing.
    • Latest innovations in cell line development and purification for novel, complex antibody molecules.
    • How single-use technologies are redefining the biopharma manufacturing model.
    • Addressing scaling issues (e.g., how to avoid creating issues downstream as you scale-up upstream bioprocessing).

  • Boosting value and affordability: securing the commercial future of I-O therapies

    Boosting value and affordability: securing the commercial future of I-O therapies

    Cost of goods control and clinical/HTA strategies for market access success

    • Strategic and technological solutions for reducing high Cost of Goods of complex antibody, cell therapy and virotherapy products
    • Harnessing real-world evidence and other disparate data sets to underscore the value of I-O therapies to both healthcare authorities and patients.
    • Tackling the issue of the expense of combination therapy development in the I-O field – and of the eventual cost to healthcare providers.