Skip to main content
Let's spread the word about Immunotherapy! Click to share this page with your community.

Immunotherapy for Blood Cancers: What to Look for at the Upcoming ASH Meeting

December 01, 2014

For doctors who treat patients with blood cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, there is no more important scientific event than the annual American Society for Hematology (ASH) meeting. At this year’s meeting, to be held December 6-9, 2014, in San Francisco, CA, immunotherapy promises to be a major topic of discussion and interest. Here’s a handy “cheat sheet” of what to look for.

Latest results from trials of PD-1 inhibitors

Several clinical trials are under way testing PD-1 inhibitors in the treatment of blood cancers. These drugs work by blocking a braking molecule on T cells called PD-1. By "taking the brakes off" T cells, these drugs empower the immune system to wage a more effective battle against cancer. Here are the trials to watch out for:

  • A phase 1b trial of Merck’s anti-PD-1 drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for patients with refractory Hodgkin lymphoma
  • A phase I trial of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s anti-PD-1 drug Opdivo (nivolumab) for patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoid cancers, including Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma

Progress in checkpoint blockade therapy for blood cancer will also be the focus of a special session at the conference, hosted by Stephen M. Ansell, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic, and Ronald Levy, M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine. Ansell and Levy will provide a summary of the results of the above trials, and discuss what they mean for patients.

Adoptive Cell Transfer

This immunotherapy approach involves taking immune cells out of a patient, modifying or boosting them in the laboratory, and then giving them back to a patient. The approach has generated excitement among both doctors and patients, as early results have been so impressive for patients with certain types of leukemia and lymphoma, as has been widely reported in the media.

Adoptive cell therapy approaches will be the subject of a special scientific symposium chaired by Benjamin L. Ebert, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. The symposium will feature two talks by acknowledged leaders in the field:

  • Carl H. June, M.D., of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and also a member of CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council and a grantee, will speak on “Therapeutic Efficacy of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells.”
  • Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute will speak on “Curative Potential of Cell Transfer Therapy for Cancer.”

Several CRI-funded scientists will be at the conference this year. I look forward to sharing their perspectives on the most important immunotherapy news for patients with blood cancer in a follow-up blog post. Stay tuned!

For doctors who treat patients with blood cancers, there is no more important scientific event than the annual American Society for Hematology (ASH) meeting. At this year’s meeting, to be held December 6-9, 2014, in San Francisco, CA, immunotherapy promises to be a major topic of discussion and interest. Here’s a handy “cheat sheet” of what to look for.

Latest results from trials of PD-1 inhibitors

Several clinical trials are under way testing PD-1 inhibitors in the treatment of blood cancers. These drugs work by blocking a braking molecule on T cells called PD-1.  By “taking the brakes off” T cells, these drugs empower the immune system to wage a more effective battle against cancer. Here are the trials to watch out for:

  • A phase 1b trial of Merck’s anti-PD-1 drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for patients with refractory Hodgkin lymphoma
  • A phase I trial of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s anti-PD-1 drug Opdivo (nivolumab) for patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoid cancers, including Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma

Progress in checkpoint blockade therapy for blood cancer will also be the focus of a special session at the conference, hosted by Stephen M. Ansell, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic, and Ronald Levy, M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine. Ansell and Levy will provide a summary of the results of the above trials, and discuss what they mean for patients.

Adoptive Cell Transfer

This immunotherapy approach involves taking immune cells out of a patient, modifying or boosting them in the laboratory, and then giving them back to a patient. The approach has generated excitement among both doctors and patients, as early results have been so impressive for patients with certain types of leukemia and lymphoma, as has been widely reported in the media.

Adoptive cell therapy approaches will be the subject of a special scientific symposium chaired by Benjamin L. Ebert, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. The symposium will feature two talks by acknowledged leaders in the field:

The complete ASH meeting program can be found here.

Several CRI-funded scientists will be at the conference this year. I look forward to sharing their perspectives on the most important immunotherapy news for patients with blood cancer in a follow-up blog post. Stay tuned! - See more at: http://web.archive.org/web/20150404000814/http://cancerresearch.org/news-publications/our-blog/december-2014/immunotherapy-for-blood-cancers-what-to-look-for#sthash.Lq4yyVRu.dpuf

Be in the know with the latest immunotherapy news

*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

Top