The Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium has served the cancer immunotherapy community since 2002 and has made significant contributions to progress in the field. Through seminars, workshops, working groups, and online consensus-building projects supported by immunological and clinical data from cancer immunotherapy trials, the Consortium works to address several of the key issues facing the cancer immunotherapy field.
The Minimal Information About T cell Assays (MIATA) Project was launched in 2009 by a collaborative group including the CRI Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium (CIC), the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) Immunoguiding Program (CIP), and scientists at Stanford University. MIATA represented the first systematic effort to establish a framework for reporting immune monitoring data from T cell assays used in clinical trials, with the goal of fostering reliability of data to facilitate meaningful interpretation, comparison, and meta-analysis across clinical trials. MIATA aimed to achieve broad consensus on which T cell assay parameters should be reported in scientific publications and to propose a mechanism for reporting these in a systematic manner.
Since its inception, the project has gone through an intense vetting process including two public consultation periods and two public workshops. Integrating feedback from more than 120 contributors from around the world, the MIATA guidelines were finalized in 2012 and announced in the commentary, "T Cell Assays and MIATA: The Essential Minimum for Maximum Impact," published in Immunity in July 2012.
The new guidelines promise to help accelerate progress in cancer immunotherapy development by making data interpretation and comparison easier for investigators and regulatory agencies.
Finalized MIATA modules are published in Immunity and located on the MIATA website. Publications include:
- Advancing the field of cancer immunotherapy: MIATA consensus guidelines become available to improve data reporting and interpretation for T-cell immune monitoring, Onco-immunology, December 2012. Access online
- Minimal information about T cell assays: the process of reaching the community of T cell immunologists in cancer and beyond, Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, January 2011. Access online
- Announcement of MIATA, Immunity, October 2009. Access online
The Consortium established the Immune Assay Proficiency Panel Program to help facilitate and harmonize immune monitoring approaches in the cancer immunotherapy field aimed at minimizing variability and promoting transparency and reproducibility in immune assay monitoring data, data interpretation, and data reporting.
The Proficiency Panel Program sought to:
- Identify issues and deficiencies of current assay practices; sources for assay variability within and among institutions; protocol details that optimize assay performance.
- Define criteria for and support harmonization and validation of the assay for laboratories
- Determine the value of resulting criteria in the cancer immunotherapy community
- Offer training programs to enhance assay performance and comparability between laboratories
- Establish immune assays as standard monitoring tools
To date, the CIC has completed panels for Elispot, peptidemultimer assays, intracellular cytokine staining, and Luminex, and has published harmonization guidelines for Elispot and HLA-peptide multimer assays.
The CIC collaborates with like-minded organizations to host workshops and meetings, establish working groups, and encourage consensus-building initiatives. These partnerships allow us to coordinate knowledge and resources among organizations to better address key issues facing the field.
The Consortium facilitates dialog with regulatory bodies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory climate and help develop needed standards for evaluating cancer immunotherapies.
Building community and fostering interaction and collaboration among the greater oncology community are central to achieving the Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium's ultimate goal of facilitating solutions to challenges in late-stage drug development.
The CIC offers a number of opportunities for organizations to meet face-to-face and establish new relationships with one another at meetings and conferences designed to facilitate this process. This networking and exchange of practical information is further enhanced through the distribution of publications that result from these meetings.
The CIC Scientific Colloquium provides a forum for industry and academic leaders in cancer immuntherapy research and development.