Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog




ASCO17: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future of Immunotherapy

ASCO 2016

One of the world’s most prestigious gatherings of cancer clinicians is back, as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) holds its 2017 Annual Meeting in Chicago June 2-6.

Unsurprisingly—given that back in February ASCO named immunotherapy the “Advance of the Year” again for the second year in a row—immunotherapy will be the topic of many different presentations over the five-day conference.

Some of these talks will provide more long-term follow-up data from prior immunotherapy trials, especially those that treated patients with single-agent checkpoint immunotherapies. Others, focusing on earlier stage trials, will reveal more of the potential effectiveness of approaches that could become the next generation of successful immunotherapies. The most interesting of these include the combination of anti-IDO and anti-PD-1 immunotherapies in several types of solid tumors, a personalized peptide vaccine for glioblastoma, several promising CAR T approaches, and a bi-functional fusion protein that can target both PD-L1 and TGF-β.

Of the 900+ abstracts involving immunotherapy and/or immunology, nearly 100 feature the work of currently funded Cancer Research Institute (CRI) investigators and members of our scientific leadership. In all, the work of over 50 CRI scientists will be showcased at ASCO17 through 20+ talks and 60+ posters/discussions.

Perhaps most importantly, data from four of CRI’s Anna-Maria Kellen Clinical Accelerator immunotherapy combination trials will be revealed. Two of these clinical trials are treating advanced solid cancers with immunotherapy combinations, while the other two are specifically for patients with multiple myeloma and glioblastoma.

However, whereas immunotherapy remained in the past relatively confined to a few siloed sessions (in addition to a handful of cancer types), this year immunotherapy has been incorporated into sessions for almost every major cancer type.

As a result of immunotherapy’s large footprint at ASCO17, we’ll be covering the conference with our blog a little differently this year.

Rather than focusing on a few select projects, we’ll be casting a much wider net than normal so that we can provide a better sense of the immunotherapy’s overall impact on the treatment of cancer patients today. For each of the five days, we’ll provide short summaries that highlight the important immunotherapy insights relevant to each cancer type.

In this way, we hope to provide immunotherapy updates in a way that’s more digestible and relevant to our community.

Finally, after the conference has concluded, we’ll distill the immunotherapy news from ASCO into a more conventional narrative. This post will zoom back out to focus on the bigger picture: how immunotherapy’s potential to revolutionize cancer treatment is already improving life for patients today as well as how current efforts are working to make it even better in the future.

Stay tuned for our next update from ASCO17!

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