Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog




ASCO18: Delivering Discoveries – Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine

Beginning tomorrow, Chicago will again play host to the largest clinical conference in the world: the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO18). The theme of this year’s meeting is Delivering Discoveries: Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine. The meeting also coincides with the start of our sixth annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month education and awareness campaign.

Earlier this year ASCO named an immunotherapy the clinical advance of the year for the third straight year, so it should come as no surprise that immunotherapy will be featured prominently throughout the five-day conference, as will the work of more than forty Cancer Research Institute researchers and physicians through various oral presentations, clinical science symposia, poster discussions and presentations, and educational sessions.

Over the course of the next five days, we’ll be highlighting a wide range of immunotherapy strategies in a variety of cancers as well as advances in understanding the effectiveness of different immunotherapies in individual patients.

Below are some of the most exciting avenues of investigation that we’ll be reporting on through our daily ASCO18 blog recaps:

  • Long-term survival, especially in patients with advanced melanoma, who were treated with PD-1 checkpoint immunotherapy
  • Utilizing immunotherapy earlier in the course of disease for patients with breast cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, melanoma, and several others
  • Novel immunotherapy strategies, especially those involving PD-1 immunotherapy-based combinations, that incorporate agents that target immune-related pathways such as OX40, TGF-β, CXCR4, CSF1, ICOS, IL-10, the Toll-like receptor (TLR) pathways, and more. Some of these even improved outcomes in patients with hard-to-treat cancers such as pancreatic cancer, triple-negative breast cancer, and ovarian cancer
  • T cell-based immunotherapies, including CD19-targeting CAR T cells in leukemia and lymphoma, BCMA-targeting CAR T cells in multiple myeloma, and both naturally occurring and engineered T cells used to target HPV+ cancers
  • Vaccines that teach patients’ immune systems how to target their cancers, including a personalized peptide vaccines for patients with glioblastoma (a type of brain cancer) as well as prostate cancer vaccines, one of which utilizes bacteria to target prostate-specific antigen, or PSA
  • Biomarkers that shed light on factors that can influence the effectiveness of immunotherapy, including smoking status, prior steroid or antibiotic use, diversity of gut bacteria, immune cell infiltration into tumors, and immune-related side effects.

We’re also convening our ASCO panel this year featuring three cancer immunotherapy experts—Charles G. Drake, MD, PhD, of New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, Catherine Diefenbach, MD, and Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, both of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health—to hear their insights regarding the latest immunotherapy advances coming out of ASCO18.

For more ASCO18 coverage, be sure to follow our blog!

Photo by Jonathan Percy on Unsplash

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