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Advances in Chemical Biology

Workshop

An introduction to Cancer Immunotherapy

Tuesday, 22 January 2019, 09.00-12.00
Kurt Ritter,
Sanofi, Frankfurt, D

The workshop is an introduction to the rapidly expanding field of cancer immunotherapy whereby components of the patient's own immune systems can be harnessed to fight cancer. Monoclonal antibodies targeting "immune check points" such as pembrolizumab or nivolumab reactivate the silenced immune system to destroy tumor cells. 

Treatment with these antibodies has led to remarkable, prolonged survival in a fraction of patients with difficult to treat cancers such as melanoma or lung cancer. To improve on the moderate response rates, efforts have been put into the search for immunomodulatory small molecules that could be used in synergistic combinations with checkpoint inhibitory antibodies. These agents might enhance the immune activity by increasing release of tumor antigens, modulating the tumor microenvironment or by targeting immune-suppressive cells such as regulatory T cells or myeloid-derived suppressor cells. The course will showcase examples of the development of IDO-inhibitors, adenosine and chemokine antagonists as well as mRNA-based therapies. 

The first positive and negative clinical outcomes from these approaches will be discussed. Finally, there will be a short overview of CAR-T cell therapy, whereby the patient's own T-cells are genetically modified and injected back for the treatment of leukemia and lymphomas.

 

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