News & Publications

Journal Illuminates the Understanding of Cancer Immunity

August 15, 2014 | Michelle Liew

Cancer Immunology ResearchIt’s validating to see how the academic dialogue in cancer immunology and immunotherapy has amplified in the past few years. In 2013, nearly 500 papers exploring any aspect of the immune system’s role in cancer were published in scientific journals. This two-fold increase from a decade earlier demonstrates the growing excitement among research scientists fascinated in the basic discovery and clinical applications of immune-based treatments.

When it was founded in 2001, Cancer Research Institute’s open access journal, Cancer Immunity, was one of the few places where conversation could occur between academics on various topics such as identifying new cancer antigens or testing the efficacy of vaccine- or antibody-based clinical trials (to name a couple). These papers served as a source of information for thousands of curious graduate students, postdocs, and investigators—all driven to build upon one another’s findings to potentially develop new and safer cancer medicines.

Since Cancer Immunity ceased publication last June and merged with Cancer Immunology Research, a new journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), in collaboration with CRI, the greater cancer research community now has an even more comprehensive resource to high-impact, cross-disciplinary investigation that advances knowledge in this burgeoning area.

Marking the first year anniversary of Cancer Immunology Research in its July 2014 issue, associate director of CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council and editor-in-chief Glenn Dranoff, M.D., penned a retrospective celebrating the journal’s inaugural successes.

Cancer Immunology Research's content is already drawing hundreds of thousands of views online, underscoring the significant interest of the community in this important new journal. Now indexed in PubMed and Medline, the influence of the journal in spreading an understanding of cancer immunity will likely continue to escalate at a rapid pace. A few noteworthy articles published in Cancer Immunology Research include:

  • A “Cancer Immunology Miniature” by Drs. Michael Kalos and Carl June, both of whom are on CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council, where they reported anti-tumor activity in two patients with advanced cancer treated with autologous T cells transfected with mRNA encoding a chimeric antigen receptor that recognizes mesothelin and contains the CD3-ζ and 4-1BB costimulatory domains (CARTmeso). The short-lived CARTmeso cells induced novel anti-self-antibodies and broadly-directed epitope-spreading; these findings support the development of mRNA CAR-based strategies for carcinoma and other solid tumors.
  • Dr. Kunle Odunsi and colleagues presented results showing that a drug called decitabine increases the effectiveness of a vaccine designed to elicit an immune response against ovarian cancer—the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the United States.
  • In a study led by Dr. Jedd Wolchok, Yuan and colleagues analyzed levels of serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in patients with metastatic melanoma before and after ipilimumab therapy. They found that high pretreatment VEGF levels correlate with decreased overall survival, thus indicating that VEGF may serve as a biomarker for ipilimumab treatment.

In addition to publishing innovative original work by leading investigators from around the world, Cancer Immunology Research established several features over the past year that further educate the community and foster new research.

The "Masters of Immunology" series presents sophisticated introductions to the basics of cancer immunology from a group of luminary immunologists, including William E. Paul, Ira Mellman, Harvey Cantor, and Richard A. Flavell. Collectively, these editorials digest the complex nature of the immune response and profile questions yet to be answered. In an effort to interweave cancer immunology with other disciplines in cancer research and medicine, the “Cancer Immunology at the Crossroads” series helps to create new collaborative research opportunities. Together, these two didactic features, along with meeting reports and general announcements, can be accessed on “Cancer Immunology Essentials,” an evolving online educational resource.

In order to help accelerate more breakthrough laboratory discoveries into safer, more effective cancer immunotherapies for patients, scientists are encouraged to submit their research for publication in Cancer Immunology Research and to share publications among their colleagues.



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