Last week, high-profile leaders in the field of immunotherapy gathered to discuss “What’s Hot in Cancer Immunotherapy 2017” at Xconomy’s fourth annual forum, hosted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA.
Among the distinguished speakers were Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at CRI, Philip D. Greenberg, M.D., and Michael Kalos, Ph.D., as well as the CEOs of several prominent biotech firms, including Juno Therapeutics, Adaptive Biotechnologies, and NanoString Technologies.
While it’s clear that immunotherapy has become the “fourth pillar of cancer treatment” (in addition to surgery chemotherapy, and radiation), according to Dr. Greenberg, the next challenge is to figure out how to improve upon immunotherapy’s existing success. While immunotherapy has led to remarkable successes in patients with several types of advanced cancers, many patients still don’t respond to current approaches, most of which utilize a single immunotherapy as a stand-alone agent.
Speaking as part of a panel focusing on “Teaming Up On Immunotherapy’s Frontier,” Dr. O’Donnell-Tormey declared that “the entire field believes that combinations are the future. The question is, ‘How are we going to get there?’”
Dr. O’Donnell Tormey then highlighted the path that CRI has pioneered through our Clinical Accelerator, and that Dr. Kalos, another member of the panel, claimed should be ”a model for other nonprofits.”
In short, CRI’s Clinical Accelerator serves as “a unique academia-industry partnership model” that allows nonprofits and biopharma companies to more easily collaborate together with the goal of developing “new, more effective combination immunotherapies for cancer.”
To learn more about the latest immunotherapy breakthroughs in 2017, check out Fred Hutch’s coverage of the Xconomy event, as well as our 7 Takeaways from ASCO17, the world’s premier clinical cancer conference.