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Posts Tagged ‘Cancer immunology’


Immunotherapy Resistance Rears Its Ugly Head Again: PD-1 Resistant Metastatic Melanoma and More

Curator/Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

From GenomeWeb

Source: https://www.genomeweb.com/sequencing/immune-gene-mutations-found-immunotherapy-resistant-metastatic-melanoma-patients?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20News:%20U%20of%20Texas%20Southwestern%20Medical%20Center%20Licenses%20Exosome%20Tech%20to%20Peregrine%20Pharmaceuticals%20-%2007/14/2016%2011:05:00%20AM

Immune Gene Mutations Found in Immunotherapy-Resistant Metastatic Melanoma Patients

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Researchers from the US and the Netherlands reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that they have identified mutations in immune system-related genes in individuals who initially responded to anti-PD-1 treatment for metastatic melanoma treatment, but relapsed after six months or more.

A team led by investigators at the University of California at Los Angeles, the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Netherlands Cancer Institute did exome sequencing on tumor samples from four individuals with metastatic melanoma prior to treatment with pembrolizumab (marketed as Keytruda by Merck). The researchers also assessed protein-coding sequences in tumor samples taken after late relapse, comparing the baseline and relapse tumors to search for mutations related to checkpoint blockade therapy resistance.

They uncovered suspicious mutations in three of the four individuals. In one individual, for example, they saw a truncating mutation affecting the beta-2-microglobulin (B2M) gene, which contributes to expression of class I major histocompatibility complex molecules recognized by the immune system’s CD8 T cells. Two more relapse tumors contained loss-of-function mutations to JAK1 or JAK2 — genes coding for interferon-related kinase enzymes.

“The mutations make the tumor resistant to the way the immune system tries to kill it,” first author Jesse Zaretsky, an MD/PhD student in senior author Antoni Ribas’ University of California at Los Angeles lab, told GenomeWeb. For example, he explained, the JAK mutations “are associated with the interferon receptor and make the tumors insensitive to the signals the immune system sends to slow [tumor] growth and kill the cancer.”

While roughly three-quarters of individuals treated with anti-PD-1 therapies show durable treatment responses, acquired resistance can occur, even long after immunotherapy-mediated tumor regression.

“With the approval of PD-1 checkpoint blockade agents for the treatment of patients with melanoma, lung cancer, and other cancers, it is anticipated that cases of late relapse after initial response will increase,” the study’s authors wrote. “Understanding the molecular mechanisms of acquired resistance … may open options for the rational design of salvage combination therapies or preventative interventions and may guide mechanistic biomarker studies for the selection of patients, before the initiation of treatment, who are unlikely to have a response.”

The team started with 78 metastatic melanoma patients who were treated with pembrolizumab at UCLA. Of the 42 individuals who showed an objective response to the checkpoint blockade therapy, 15 eventually experienced disease progression.

From that group of 15 patients, the researchers focused on four patients with late-acquired resistance — six months or more after response to pembrolizumab as a single agent — for whom there was sufficient biopsy material and clinical information available. Each of the patients had been receiving continuous doses of the drug until relapse, which occurred after a mean of nearly 21 months.

When the investigators scrutinized biopsies from the relapse tumors, they saw enhanced PD-L1 expression at the edges of tumors, along with CD8 T cells attempting to infiltrate the tumors. After capturing protein-coding portions of the genome in baseline and relapse tumor samples with Nimblegen exome kits, the team sequenced the exomes to nearly 150-fold average coverage using the Illumina HiSeq 2000.

“We wanted to capture all of the mutations down to low allele frequencies to get a picture of everything that was going on in the tumors, both before they went on the treatment and after [the tumors] came back,” Zaretsky said.

In the two cases marked by new JAK1 or JAK2 mutations at relapse, the team found that 93 percent to nearly 96 percent of baseline tumor mutations persisted in the relapse tumors.

The researchers suspect resistance mutations arose from clonal populations in the metastatic tumors that expanded after anti-PD-1 treatment. From allele frequency patterns in the relapsed tumors with JAK1/2 mutations, for example, they concluded that “tumors resistant to anti-PD-1 are a relatively homogeneous population derived directly from the baseline tumor and that acquisition of the JAK mutations was an early founder event.”

Even so, they didn’t detect burgeoning resistance mutations in the pre-pembrolizumab-treatment tumors, Zaretsky said, perhaps because such alterations were present in very few cells in the baseline tumors.

In cell lines established from the individual with JAK2 loss-of-function mutations at relapse, the team’s NanoString Technologies’ nCounter expression experiments pointed to loss of JAK2 protein expression after treatment progression, along with a dip in interferon gamma activity and diminished production of proteins involved in antigen presentation and T cell activity.

Other articles related to ImmunoOncology in this Open Access Journal include:

Vectorisation Of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Antibodies

First Drug in Checkpoint Inhibitor Class of Cancer Immunotherapies has demonstrated Superiority over Standard of care in the treatment of First-line Lung Cancer Patients: Merck’s Keytryda

Durable responses with checkpoint inhibitor

Immune-Oncology Molecules In Development & Articles on Topic in @pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

 

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Issues Need to be Resolved With Immuno-Modulatory Therapies: NK cells, mAbs, and adoptive T cells

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

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Immunotherapy. 2014;6(3):309-20. doi: 10.2217/imt.13.175.

Optimizing NKT cell ligands as vaccine adjuvants.

Carreño LJ1Kharkwal SSPorcelli SA.

Author information

Abstract

NKT cells are a subpopulation of T lymphocytes with phenotypic properties of both T and NK cells and a wide range of immune effector properties. In particular, one subset of these cells, known as invariant NKT cells (iNKT cells), has attracted substantial attention because of their ability to be specifically activated by glycolipid antigens presented by a cell surface protein called CD1d. The development of synthetic α-galactosylceramides as a family of powerful glycolipid agonists for iNKT cells has led to approaches for augmenting a wide variety of immune responses, including those involved in vaccination against infections and cancers. Here, we review basic, preclinical and clinical observations supporting approaches to improving immune responses through the use of iNKT cell-activating glycolipids. Results from preclinical animal studies and preliminary clinical studies in humans identify many promising applications for this approach in the development of vaccines and novel immunotherapies.

 

 

Cancer Res. 2013 Jul 1;73(13):3842-51. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-1974. Epub 2013 May 23.

Avirulent Toxoplasma gondii generates therapeutic antitumor immunity by reversing immunosuppression in the ovarian cancer microenvironment.

Baird JR1Fox BASanders KLLizotte PHCubillos-Ruiz JRScarlett UKRutkowski MRConejo-Garcia JRFiering SBzik DJ.

Author information

Abstract

Reversing tumor-associated immunosuppression seems necessary to stimulate effective therapeutic immunity against lethal epithelial tumors. Here, we show this goal can be addressed using cps, an avirulent, nonreplicating uracil auxotroph strain of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), which preferentially invades immunosuppressive CD11c(+) antigen-presenting cells in the ovarian carcinoma microenvironment. Tumor-associated CD11c(+) cells invaded by cps were converted to immunostimulatory phenotypes, which expressed increased levels of the T-cell receptor costimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86. In response to cps treatment of the immunosuppressive ovarian tumor environment, CD11c(+) cellsregained the ability to efficiently cross-present antigen and prime CD8(+) T-cell responses. Correspondingly, cps treatment markedly increased tumor antigen-specific responses by CD8(+) T cells. Adoptive transfer experiments showed that these antitumor T-cell responses were effective in suppressing solid tumor development. Indeed, intraperitoneal cps treatment triggered rejection of established ID8-VegfA tumors, an aggressive xenograft model of ovarian carcinoma, also conferring a survival benefit in a related aggressive model (ID8-Defb29/Vegf-A). The therapeutic benefit of cps treatment relied on expression of IL-12, but it was unexpectedly independent of MyD88 signaling as well as immune experience with T. gondii. Taken together, our results establish that cps preferentially invades tumor-associated antigen-presenting cells and restores their ability to trigger potent antitumor CD8(+) T-cell responses. Immunochemotherapeutic applications of cps might be broadly useful to reawaken natural immunity in the highly immunosuppressive microenvironment of most solid tumors.

 

Oncoimmunology. 2013 Jun 1;2(6):e24677. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

TLR3 agonists improve the immunostimulatory potential of cetuximab against EGFR+ head and neck cancer cells.

Ming Lim C1Stephenson RSalazar AMFerris RL.

Author information

Abstract

Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) agonists have been extensively used as adjuvants for anticancer vaccines. However, their immunostimulatory effects and precise mechanisms of action in the presence of antineoplastic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have not yet been evaluated. We investigated the effect of TLR3 agonists on cetuximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against head and neck cancer (HNC) cells, as well as on dendritic cell (DC) maturation and cross-priming of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-specific CD8+ T cells. The cytotoxic activity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) or isolated natural killer (NK) cells expressing polymorphic variants (at codon 158) of the Fcγ receptor IIIa (FcγIIIa) was determined in 51Cr release assays upon incubation with the TLR3 agonist poly-ICLC. NK cell stimulation was measured based on activation and degranulation markers, while DC maturation in the presence of poly-ICLC was assessed using flow cytometry. The DC-mediated cross priming of EGFR-specific CD8+ T cells was monitored upon in vitro stimulation with tetramer-based flow cytometry. TLR3-stimulated, unfractionated PBMCs from HNC patients mediated robust cetuximab-dependent ADCC, which was abrogated by NK-cell depletion. The cytolytic activity of TLR3-stimulated NK cells differed among cells expressing different polymorphic variants of FcγRIIIa, and NK cells exposed to both poly-ICLC and cetuximab expressed higher levels of CD107a and granzyme B than their counterparts exposed to either stimulus alone. Poly-ICLC plus cetuximab also induced a robust upregulation of CD80, CD83 and CD86 on the surface of DCs, a process that was partially NK-cell dependent. Furthermore, DCs matured in these conditions exhibited improved cross-priming abilities, resulting in higher numbers of EGFR-specific CD8+ T cells. These findings suggest that TLR3 agonists may provide a convenient means to improve the efficacy of mAb-based anticancer regimens.

Ann Oncol. 2012 Sep; 23(Suppl 8): viii6–viii9.

doi:  10.1093/annonc/mds256

PMCID: PMC4085883

Immuno-oncology: understanding the function and dysfunction of the immune system in cancer

  1. J. Finn*

Interactions between the Immune System and Cancer

Evidence has been accumulating since the middle of the last century, first from animal models and later from studies in cancer patients, that the immune system can recognise and reject tumours. The goal of tumour immunology has been to understand the components of the immune system that are important for tumour immunosurveillance and tumour rejection to understand how, when, and why they fail in cases of clinical disease. Immunotherapy, which involves strengthening the cancer patient’s immune system by improving its ability to recognise the tumour or providing a missing immune effector function, is one treatment approach that holds promise of a life-long cure [4].

Studies of cancer–immune system interactions have revealed that every known innate and adaptive immune effector mechanism participates in tumour recognition and control [5]. The first few transformed cells are detected by NK cells through their encounter with specific ligands on tumour cells. This leads to the destruction of some transformed cells and the uptake and processing of their fragments by macrophages and dendritic cells. In turn, these macrophages and dendritic cells are activated to secrete many inflammatory cytokines and present tumour cell-derived molecules to T- and B cells. Activation of T- and B cells leads to the production of additional cytokines that further promote activation of innate immunity and support the expansion and production of tumour-specific T cells and antibodies, respectively. The full power of the adaptive immune system leads to the elimination of remaining tumour cells and, importantly, to the generation of immune memory to specific tumour components that will serve to prevent tumour recurrence.

Effectors of adaptive immunity, such as CD4+ helper T cells, CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, and antibodies, specifically target tumour antigens; i.e. molecules expressed in tumour cells, but not in normal cells. Tumour antigens are normal cellular proteins that are abnormally expressed as a result of genetic mutations, quantitative differences in expression, or differences in posttranslational modifications [5]. In tumour types that have a well-documented viral origin, such as cervical cancer, caused by the human papillomavirus [5], or hepatocellular carcinoma caused by the hepatitis B virus [6], viral proteins can also serve as tumour antigens and targets for antitumour immune response [7].

The first indication that tumours carried molecules distinct from those on the normal cell of origin was derived from immunising mice with human tumours and selecting antibodies that recognised human tumour cells but not their normal counterparts. The major question was whether some, or all, of these molecules would also be recognised by the human immune system. 2011 was an important anniversary for human tumour immunology, marking 20 years since the publication by van der Bruggen et al. [8] that described the cloning of MAGE-1, a gene that encodes a human melanoma antigen recognised by patient’s antitumour T cells. This was not a mutant protein; its recognition by the immune system was due to the fact that it was only expressed by transformed, malignant cells and, with the exception of testicular germ cells, was not expressed in normal adult tissue. Many similar discoveries followed, with each new molecule providing a better understanding of what might be good targets for different forms of cancer immunotherapy. Tumour antigens have been tested as vaccines, as targets for monoclonal antibodies, and as targets for adoptively transferred cytotoxic T cells. There is a wealth of publications from preclinical studies targeting these antigens and results from phase I/II clinical trials. Recently, these studies were critically reviewed and a list of tumour antigens with the largest body of available data compiled [9]. The goal was to encourage faster progress in the design, testing, and approval of immunotherapeutic reagents that incorporate or target the most promising antigens.

 

As highlighted in the article two scenarios which present problems emerged:

  1. In the past, immunotherapy was referred to as ‘passive’ (e.g. the infusion of preformed immune effectors, such as antibodies, cytokines, or activated T cells, NK cells, or lymphokine-activated killer cells), presumably acting directly on the tumour and independent of the immune system or ‘active’ (e.g. vaccines), designed to activate and therefore be dependent on the patient’s immune system. it has since become clear that both passive and active immunotherapies depend on the patient’s immune system for long-term tumour control or complete tumour elimination. anticancer monoclonal antibodies are a well-established class of immunotherapeutic agent. HOWEVER, The potential of these antibodies is drastically undermined by their administration relatively late in the disease course, when the patient’s immune system is largely compromised. Under more optimal conditions, antibody treatment might result not only in the direct cytostatic or cytotoxic effect on the tumour cell, but also in the loading of antibody-bound tumour antigens onto antigen presenting cells (APC) in the tumour microenvironment. The resultant cross-presentation to antitumour T- and B cells could result in additional antibodies to these antigens being produced, and propagation of the immune response at the tumour site would maintain tumour elimination long after the infused monoclonal antibody is gone.
  2. The same scenario could be predicted for adoptively transferred T cells. Unlike antibodies, transferred T cells persist longer and may provide a memory response [14]; however, as long as the memory response is restricted to one clone, or a limited number of clones, then antigen-negative tumours will be able to escape. In addition, cancer vaccines encounter large numbers of immunosuppressive Tregand MDSC in circulation, as well as immunosuppressive cell-derived soluble products that flood the lymph nodes, preventing maturation of APCs and activation of T cells. Even when vaccines are delivered in the context of ex vivo matured and activated dendritic cells, their ability to activate T cells is compromised by the high-level expression of various molecules on T cells that block this process.

The scenarios proposed above present a rather bleak picture of the potential of immunotherapy to achieve the cure for cancer that has eluded standard therapy [15]. Interestingly, failures of some standard therapies are beginning to be ascribed to their inability to activate the patient’s immune system [16]. However, rather than seeing the picture as a deterrent, it should be considered as a road map, providing at least two major directions for new developments in immunotherapy.

The first direction is to continue using the old classes of immunotherapy that target the cancer directly, but to use them in combination with therapies that target the immune system in the tumour microenvironment, such as cytokines, suppressors of Treg or MDSC activity, or antibodies that modulate T-cell activity. The recently approved antibody, ipilimumab, which acts to sustain cytotoxic T-cell activity by augmenting T-cell activation and proliferation, is one example of such an immunomodulatory agent [17].

The other direction is to use immunotherapies, both old and new, for preventing cancer in individuals at high risk [18]. Studies of the tumour microenvironment are providing information about immunosurveillance of tumours from early premalignant lesions to more advanced dysplastic lesions to cancer. At each step, tumour-derived and immune system-derived components have a unique composition that will have distinct effects on immunotherapy. Because these premalignant microenvironments are less developed and immunosuppression is less entrenched, it should be easier to modulate towards the elimination of abnormal cells.

 

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2011 Sep;60(9):1309-17. doi: 10.1007/s00262-011-1038-y. Epub 2011 May 28.

Tumor immunotherapy using adenovirus vaccines in combination with intratumoral doses of CpG ODN.

Geary SM1Lemke CDLubaroff DMSalem AK.

Author information

Abstract

The combination of viral vaccination with intratumoral (IT) administration of CpG ODNs is yet to be investigated as an immunotherapeutic treatment for solid tumors. Here, we show that such a treatment regime can benefit survival of tumor-challenged mice. C57BL/6 mice bearing ovalbumin (OVA)-expressing EG.7 thymoma tumors were therapeutically vaccinated with adenovirus type 5 encoding OVA (Ad5-OVA), and the tumors subsequently injected with the immunostimulatory TLR9 agonist, CpG-B ODN 1826 (CpG), 4, 7, 10, and 13 days later. This therapeutic combination resulted in enhanced mean survival times that were more than 3.5× longer than naïve mice, and greater than 40% of mice were cured and capable of resisting subsequent tumor challenge. This suggests that an adaptive immune response was generated. Both Ad5-OVA and Ad5-OVA + CpG IT treatments led to significantly increased levels of H-2 K(b)-OVA-specific CD8+ lymphocytes in the peripheral blood and intratumorally. Lymphocyte depletion studies performed in vivo implicated both NK cells and CD8+ lymphocytes as co-contributors to the therapeutic effect. Analysis of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) on day 12 post-tumor challenge revealed that mice treated with Ad5-OVA + CpG IT possessed a significantly reduced percentage of regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) within the CD4+ lymphocyte population, compared with TILs isolated from mice treated with Ad5-OVA only. In addition, the proportion of CD8+ TILs that were OVA-specific was reproducibly higher in the mice treated with Ad5-OVA + CpG IT compared with other treatment groups. These findings highlight the therapeutic potential of combining intratumoral CpG and vaccination with virus encoding tumor antigen.

 

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2009 Mar 28;61(3):268-74. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2008.12.005. Epub 2009 Jan 7.

CpG oligonucleotide as an adjuvant for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Lubaroff DM1Karan D.

Author information

Abstract

The use of an adenovirus transduced to express a prostate cancer antigen (PSA) as a vaccine for the treatment of prostate cancer has been shown to be active in the destruction of antigen-expressing prostate tumor cells in a pre-clinical model, using Balb/C or PSA transgenic mice. The destruction of PSA-secreting mouse prostate tumors was observed in Ad/PSA immunized mice in a prophylaxis study with 70% of the mice surviving long term tumor free. This successful immunotherapy was not observed in therapeutic studies in which tumors were established before vaccination and the development of anti-PSA immune response was not as easily generated in PSA transgenic mice. Immunization of conventional and transgenic animals was enhanced by incorporating a collagen matrix into the immunizing injection. Therefore the need to strengthen anti-PSA and anti-prostate cancer immunity was an obvious next step in developing a successful prostate cancer immunotherapy. Because the use ofimmunostimulatory CpG motifs was shown to enhance immune responses to a wide variety of antigens, our studies incorporated CpG into the Ad/PSA vaccine experimental plans. The results of the subsequent studies demonstrated a dichotomy where Ad/PSA plus CpG enhanced the in vivo destruction of PSA-secreting tumors and the survival of experimental animals, but revealed that the number and in vitro activities of antigen specific CD8+ T cells was decreased as compared to the values observed when the vaccine alone was used for immunization. The dichotomous observations were confirmed using another antigen system, OVA also incorporated into a replication defective adenovirus. Despite the reduction in antigen-specific CD8+ cells after vaccine plus CpG immunization the enhanced destruction of sc and systemic tumors was shown to be mediated entirely by CD8+ T cells. Finally, the reduction of the CD8+ T cells was the result of an observed decrease in the proliferation of the antigen specific cell population.

J Invest Dermatol. 2004 Aug;123(2):371-9.

 

CpG motifs are efficient adjuvants for DNA cancer vaccines.

Schneeberger A1Wagner CZemann ALührs PKutil RGoos MStingl GWagner SN.

Author information

Abstract

DNA vaccines can induce impressive specific cellular immune response (IR) when taking advantage of their recognition as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMP) through Toll-like receptors (TLR) expressed on/in cells of the innate immune system. Among the many types of PAMP,immunostimulatory DNA, so-called CpG motifs, was shown to interact specifically with TLR9, which is expressed in plasmacytoid dendritic cells(pDC), a key regulatory cell for the activation of innate and adaptive IR. We now report that CpG motifs, when introduced into the backbone, are a useful adjuvant for plasmid-based DNA (pDNA) vaccines to induce melanoma antigen-specific protective T cell responses in the Cloudman M3/DBA/2 model. The CpG-enriched pDNA vaccine induced protection against subsequent challenge with melanoma cells at significantly higher levels than its parental unmodified vector. Preferential induction of an antigen-specific, protective T cell response could be demonstrated by (i) induction of antigen-dependent tumor cell protection, (ii) complete loss of protection by in vivo CD4+/CD8+T cell- but not NK cell-depletion, and (iii) the detection of antigen-specific T cell responses but not of relevant NK cell activity in vitro. These results demonstrate that employing PAMP in pDNA vaccines improves the induction of protective, antigen-specific, T cell-mediated IR.

 

J Biomed Sci. 2016 Jan 25;23(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s12929-016-0238-3.

Combination of the toll like receptor agonist and α-Galactosylceramide as an efficient adjuvant for cancer vaccine.

Gableh F1Saeidi M2Hemati S3Hamdi K4Soleimanjahi H5Gorji A6,7,8Ghaemi A9,10,11.

Author information

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

DNA vaccines have emerged as an attractive approach for the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). In our previous study, we found That Toll like receptor (TLR) ligands are promising candidates for the development of novel adjuvants for DNA vaccine. To improve the efficacy of DNA vaccine directed against human papillomavirus (HPV) tumors, we evaluated whether co-administration of a TLR4 ligand, monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), and Natural Killer T Cell Ligand α-Galactosylceramide(α-GalCer) adjuvants with DNA vaccine would influence the anti-tumor efficacy of DNA vaccinations.

METHODS:

We investigated the effectiveness of α-GalCer and MPL combination as an adjuvant with an HPV-16 E7 DNA vaccine to enhance antitumor immune responses.

RESULTS:

By using adjuvant combination for a DNA vaccine, we found that the levels of lymphocyte proliferation, CTL activity, IFN- γ, IL-4 and IL-12 responses, and tumor protection against TC-1 cells were significantly increased compared to the DNA vaccine with individual adjuvants. In addition, inhibition of IL-18 signaling during vaccination decreased IFN-γ responses and tumor protection, and that this inhibition suggested stimulatory role of IL-18 in adjuvant effects of α-GalCer and MPL combination.

CONCLUSION:

The strong adjuvanticity associated with α-GalCer/MPL combination may to be an important tool in the development of novel and strong cancer immunotherapy.

Cancer Sci. 2015 Dec;106(12):1659-68. doi: 10.1111/cas.12824. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

Adjuvant for vaccine immunotherapy of cancer – focusing on Toll-like receptor 2 and 3 agonists for safely enhancing antitumor immunity.

Seya T1Shime H1Takeda Y1Tatematsu M1Takashima K1Matsumoto M1.

Author information

Abstract

Immune-enhancing adjuvants usually targets antigen (Ag)-presenting cells to tune up cellular and humoral immunity. CD141(+) dendritic cells (DC) represent the professional Ag-presenting cells in humans. In response to microbial pattern molecules, these DCs upgrade the maturation stage sufficient to improve cross-presentation of exogenous Ag, and upregulation of MHC and costimulators, allowing CD4/CD8 T cells to proliferate and liberating cytokines/chemokines that support lymphocyte attraction and survival. These DCs also facilitate natural killer-mediated cell damage. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and their signaling pathways in DCs play a pivotal role in DC maturation. Therefore, providing adjuvants in addition to Ag is indispensable for successful vaccine immunotherapy for cancer, which has been approved in comparison with antimicrobial vaccines. Mouse CD8α(+) DCs express TLR7 and TLR9 in addition to the TLR2 family (TLR1, 2, and 6) and TLR3, whereas human CD141(+) DCs exclusively express the TLR2 family and TLR3. Although human and mouse plasmacytoid DCs commonly express TLR7/9 to respond to their agonists, the results on mouse adjuvant studies using TLR7/9 agonists cannot be simply extrapolated to human adjuvant immunotherapy. In contrast, TLR2 and TLR3 are similarly expressed in both human and mouse Ag-presenting DCs. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin peptidoglycan and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid are representative agonists for TLR2 and TLR3, respectively, although they additionally stimulate cytoplasmic sensors: their functional specificities may not be limited to the relevant TLRs. These adjuvants have been posted up to a certain achievement in immunotherapy in some cancers. We herein summarize the history and perspectives of TLR2 and TLR3 agonists in vaccine-adjuvant immunotherapy for cancer.

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;850:81-91. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-15774-0_7.

Molecular Programming of Immunological Memory in Natural Killer Cells.

Beaulieu AM1Madera SSun JC.

Author information

Abstract

Immunological memory is a hallmark of the adaptive immune system. Although natural killer (NK) cells have traditionally been classified as a component of the innate immune system, they have recently been shown in mice and humans to exhibit certain features of immunological memory, including an ability to undergo a clonal-like expansion during virus infection, generate long-lived progeny (i.e. memory cells), and mediate recall responses against previously encountered pathogens–all characteristics previously ascribed only to adaptive immune responses by B and T cells in mammals. To date, the molecular events that govern the generation of NK cell memory are not completely understood. Using a mouse model of cytomegalovirus infection, we demonstrate that individual pro-inflammatory IL-12, IL-18, and type I-IFN signaling pathways are indispensible and play non-redundant roles in the generation of virus-specific NK cell memory. Furthermore, we discovered that antigen-specific proliferation and protection by NK cells is mediated by the transcription factor Zbtb32, which is induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines and promotes a cell cycle program in activated NK cells. A greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling NK cell responses will provide novel strategies for tailoring vaccines to target infectious disease.

 

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Microbe meets cancer

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

Microbes Meet Cancer

Understanding cancer’s relationship with the human microbiome could transform immune-modulating therapies.

By Kate Yandell | April 1, 2016  http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/45616/title/Microbes-Meet-Cancer

 © ISTOCK.COM/KATEJA_FN; © ISTOCK.COM/FRANK RAMSPOTT  http://www.the-scientist.com/images/April2016/feature1.jpg

In 2013, two independent teams of scientists, one in Maryland and one in France, made a surprising observation: both germ-free mice and mice treated with a heavy dose of antibiotics responded poorly to a variety of cancer therapies typically effective in rodents. The Maryland team, led by Romina Goldszmidand Giorgio Trinchieri of the National Cancer Institute, showed that both an investigational immunotherapy and an approved platinum chemotherapy shrank a variety of implanted tumor types and improved survival to a far greater extent in mice with intact microbiomes.1 The French group, led by INSERM’s Laurence Zitvogel, got similar results when testing the long-standing chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide in cancer-implanted mice, as well as in mice genetically engineered to develop tumors of the lung.2

The findings incited a flurry of research and speculation about how gut microbes contribute to cancer cell death, even in tumors far from the gastrointestinal tract. The most logical link between the microbiome and cancer is the immune system. Resident microbes can either dial up inflammation or tamp it down, and can modulate immune cells’ vigilance for invaders. Not only does the immune system appear to be at the root of how the microbiome interacts with cancer therapies, it also appears to mediate how our bacteria, fungi, and viruses influence cancer development in the first place.

“We clearly see shifts in the [microbial] community that precede development of tumors,” says microbiologist and immunologist Patrick Schloss, who studies the influence of the microbiome on colon cancer at the University of Michigan.

But the relationship between the microbiome and cancer is complex: while some microbes promote cell proliferation, others appear to protect us against cancerous growth. And in some cases, the conditions that spur one cancer may have the opposite effect in another. “It’s become pretty obvious that the commensal microbiota affect inflammation and, through that or through other mechanisms, affect carcinogenesis,” says Trinchieri. “What we really need is to have a much better understanding of which species, which type of bug, is doing what and try to change the balance.”

Gut feeling

In the late 1970s, pathologist J. Robin Warren of Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia began to notice that curved bacteria often appeared in stomach tissue biopsies taken from patients with chronic gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining that often precedes the development of stomach cancer. He and Barry J. Marshall, a trainee in internal medicine at the hospital, speculated that the bacterium, now called Helicobacter pylori, was somehow causing the gastritis.3 So committed was Marshall to demonstrating the microbe’s causal relationship to the inflammatory condition that he had his own stomach biopsied to show that it contained no H. pylori, then infected himself with the bacterium and documented his subsequent experience of gastritis.4 Scientists now accept that H. pylori, a common gut microbe that is present in about 50 percent of the world’s population, is responsible for many cases of gastritis and most stomach ulcers, and is a strong risk factor for stomach cancer.5 Marshall and Warren earned the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work.

H. pylori may be the most clear-cut example of a gut bacterium that influences cancer development, but it is likely not the only one. Researchers who study cancer in mice have long had anecdotal evidence that shifts in the microbiome influence the development of diverse tumor types. “You have a mouse model of carcinogenesis. It works beautifully,” says Trinchieri. “You move to another institution. It works completely differently,” likely because the animals’ microbiomes vary with environment.

IMMUNE INFLUENCE: In recent years, research has demonstrated that microbes living in and on the mammalian body can affect cancer risk, as well as responses to cancer treatment. Although the details of this microbe-cancer link remain unclear, investigators suspect that the microbiome’s ability to modulate inflammation and train immune cells to react to tumors is to blame.
See full infographic: WEB | PDF
© AL GRANBERG

Around the turn of the 21st century, cancer researchers began to systematically experiment with the rodent microbiome, and soon had several lines of evidence linking certain gut microbes with a mouse’s risk of colon cancer. In 2001, for example, Shoichi Kado of the Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research in Japan and colleagues found that a strain of immunocompromised mice rapidly developed colon tumors, but that germ-free versions of these mice did not.6 That same year, an MIT-based group led by the late David Schauer demonstrated that infecting mice with the bacterium Citrobacter rodentium spurred colon tumor development.7 And in 2003, MIT’s Susan Erdman and her colleagues found that they could induce colon cancer in immunocompromised mice by infecting them with Helicobacter hepaticus, a relative of? H. pylori that commonly exists within the murine gut microbiome.8

More recent work has documented a similar link between colon cancer and the gut microbiome in humans. In 2014, a team led by Schloss sequenced 16S rRNA genes isolated from the stool of 90 people, some with colon cancer, some with precancerous adenomas, and still others with no disease.9 The researchers found that the feces of people with cancer tended to have an altered composition of bacteria, with an excess of the common mouth microbes Fusobacterium or Porphyromonas. A few months later, Peer Bork of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory performed metagenomic sequencing of stool samples from 156 people with or without colorectal cancer. Bork and his colleagues found they could predict the presence or absence of cancer using the relative abundance of 22 bacterial species, including Porphyromonas andFusobacterium.10 They could also use the method to predict colorectal cancer with about the same accuracy as a blood test, correctly identifying about 50 percent of cancers while yielding false positives less than 10 percent of the time. When the two tests were combined, they caught more than 70 percent of cancers.

Whether changes in the microbiota in colon cancer patients are harbingers of the disease or a consequence of tumor development remained unclear. “What comes first, the change in the microbiome or tumor development?” asks Schloss. To investigate this question, he and his colleagues treated mice with microbiome-altering antibiotics before administering a carcinogen and an inflammatory agent, then compared the outcomes in those animals and in mice that had received only the carcinogenic and inflammatory treatments, no antibiotics. The antibiotic-treated animals had significantly fewer and smaller colon tumors than the animals with an undisturbed microbiome, suggesting that resident bacteria were in some way promoting cancer development. And when the researchers transferred microbiota from healthy mice to antibiotic-treated or germ-free mice, the animals developed more tumors following carcinogen exposure. Sterile mice that received microbiota from mice already bearing malignancies developed the most tumors of all.11

Most recently, Schloss and his colleagues showed that treating mice with seven unique combinations of antibiotics prior to exposing them to carcinogens yielded variable but predictable levels of tumor formation. The researchers determined that the number of tumors corresponded to the unique ways that each antibiotic cocktail modulated the microbiome.12

“We’ve kind of proven to ourselves, at least, that the microbiome is involved in colon cancer,” says Schloss, who hypothesizes that gut bacteria–driven inflammation is to blame for creating an environment that is hospitable to tumor development and growth. Gain or loss of certain components of the resident bacterial community could lead to the release of reactive oxygen species, damaging cells and their genetic material. Inflammation also involves increased release of growth factors and blood vessel proliferation, potentially supporting the growth of tumors. (See illustration above.)

Recent research has also yielded evidence that the gut microbiota impact the development of cancer in sites far removed from the intestinal tract, likely through similar immune-modulating mechanisms.

Systemic effects

In the mid-2000s, MIT’s Erdman began infecting a strain of mice predisposed to intestinal tumors withH. hepaticus and observing the subsequent development of colon cancer in some of the animals. To her surprise, one of the mice developed a mammary tumor. Then, more of the mice went on to develop mammary tumors. “This told us that something really interesting was going on,” Erdman recalls. Sure enough, she and her colleagues found that mice infected with H. hepaticus were more likely to develop mammary tumors than mice not exposed to the bacterium.13The researchers showed that systemic immune activation and inflammation could contribute to mammary tumors in other, less cancer-prone mouse models, as well as to the development of prostate cancer.

MICROBIAL STOWAWAYS: Bacteria of the human gut microbiome are intimately involved in cancer development and progression, thanks to their interactions with the immune system. Some microbes, such as Helicobacter pylori, increase the risk of cancer in their immediate vicinity (stomach), while others, such as some Bacteroides species, help protect against tumors by boosting T-cell infiltration.© EYE OF SCIENCE/SCIENCE SOURCE
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© DR. GARY GAUGLER/SCIENCE SOURCE  http://www.the-scientist.com/images/April2016/immune3.jpg

At the University of Chicago, Thomas Gajewski and his colleagues have taken a slightly different approach to studying the role of the microbiome in cancer development. By comparing Black 6 mice coming from different vendors—Taconic Biosciences (formerly Taconic Farms) and the Jackson Laboratory—Gajewski takes advantage of the fact that the animals’ different origins result in different gut microbiomes. “We deliberately stayed away from antibiotics, because we had a desire to model how intersubject heterogeneity [in cancer development] might be impacted by the commensals they happen to be colonized with,” says Gajewski in an email to The Scientist.

Last year, the researchers published the results of a study comparing the progression of melanoma tumors implanted under the mice’s skin, finding that tumors in the Taconic mice grew more aggressively than those in the Jackson mice. When the researchers housed the different types of mice together before their tumors were implanted, however, these differences disappeared. And transferring fecal material from the Jackson mice into the Taconic mice altered the latter’s tumor progression.14

Instead of promoting cancer, in these experiments the gut microbiome appeared to slow tumor growth. Specifically, the reduced tumor growth in the Jackson mice correlated with the presence of Bifidobacterium, which led to the greater buildup of T?cells in the Jackson mice’s tumors. Bifidobacteriaactivate dendritic cells, which present antigens from bacteria or cancer cells to T?cells, training them to hunt down and kill these invaders. Feeding Taconic mice bifidobacteria improved their response to the implanted melanoma cells.

“One hypothesis going into the experiments was that we might identify immune-suppressive bacteria, or commensals that shift the immune response towards a character that was unfavorable for tumor control,” says Gajewski.  “But in fact, we found that even a single type of bacteria could boost the antitumor immune response.”

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Drug interactions

Ideally, the immune system should recognize cancer as invasive and nip tumor growth in the bud. But cancer cells display “self” molecules that can inhibit immune attack. A new type of immunotherapy, dubbed checkpoint inhibition or blockade, spurs the immune system to attack cancer by blocking either the tumor cells’ surface molecules or the receptors on T?cells that bind to them.

CANCER THERAPY AND THE MICROBIOME

In addition to influencing the development and progression of cancer by regulating inflammation and other immune pathways, resident gut bacteria appear to influence the effectiveness of many cancer therapies that are intended to work in concert with host immunity to eliminate tumors.

  • Some cancer drugs, such as oxaliplatin chemotherapy and CpG-oligonucleotide immunotherapy, work by boosting inflammation. If the microbiome is altered in such a way that inflammation is reduced, these therapeutic agents are less effective.
  • Cancer-cell surface proteins bind to receptors on T cells to prevent them from killing cancer cells. Checkpoint inhibitors that block this binding of activated T cells to cancer cells are influenced by members of the microbiota that mediate these same cell interactions.
  • Cyclophosphamide chemotherapy disrupts the gut epithelial barrier, causing the gut to leak certain bacteria. Bacteria gather in lymphoid tissue just outside the gut and spur generation of T helper 1 and T helper 17 cells that migrate to the tumor and kill it.

As part of their comparison of Jackson and Taconic mice, Gajewski and his colleagues decided to test a type of investigational checkpoint inhibitor that targets PD-L1, a ligand found in high quantities on the surface of multiple types of cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies that bind to PD-L1 block the PD-1 receptors on T?cells from doing so, allowing an immune response to proceed against the tumor cells. While treating Taconic mice with PD-L1–targeting antibodies did improve their tumor responses, they did even better when that treatment was combined with fecal transfers from Jackson mice, indicating that the microbiome and the immunotherapy can work together to take down cancer. And when the researchers combined the anti-PD-L1 therapy with a bifidobacteria-enriched diet, the mice’s tumors virtually disappeared.14

Gajewski’s group is now surveying the gut microbiota in humans undergoing therapy with checkpoint inhibitors to better understand which bacterial species are linked to positive outcomes. The researchers are also devising a clinical trial in which they will give Bifidobacterium supplements to cancer patients being treated with the approved anti-PD-1 therapy pembrolizumab (Keytruda), which targets the immune receptor PD-1 on T?cells, instead of the cancer-cell ligand PD-L1.

Meanwhile, Zitvogel’s group at INSERM is investigating interactions between the microbiome and another class of checkpoint inhibitors called CTLA-4 inhibitors, which includes the breakthrough melanoma treatment ipilimumab (Yervoy). The researchers found that tumors in antibiotic-treated and germ-free mice had poorer responses to a CTLA-4–targeting antibody compared with mice harboring unaltered microbiomes.15 Particular Bacteroides species were associated with T-cell infiltration of tumors, and feedingBacteroides fragilis to antibiotic-treated or germ-free mice improved the animals’ responses to the immunotherapy. As an added bonus, treatment with these “immunogenic” Bacteroides species decreased signs of colitis, an intestinal inflammatory condition that is a dangerous side effect in patients using checkpoint inhibitors. Moreover, Zitvogel and her colleagues showed that human metastatic melanoma patients treated with ipilimumab tended to have elevated levels of B. fragilis in their microbiomes. Mice transplanted with feces from patients who showed particularly strong B. fragilis gains did better on anti-CTLA-4 treatment than did mice transplanted with feces from patients with normal levels of B. fragilis.

“There are bugs that allow the therapy to work, and at the same time, they protect against colitis,” says Trinchieri. “That is very exciting, because not only [can] we do something to improve the therapy, but we can also, at the same time, try to reduce the side effect.”

And these checkpoint inhibitors aren’t the only cancer therapies whose effects are modulated by the microbiome. Trinchieri has also found that an immunotherapy that combines antibodies against interleukin-10 receptors with CpG oligonucleotides is more effective in mice with unaltered microbiomes.1He and his NCI colleague Goldszmid further found that the platinum chemotherapy oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) was more effective in mice with intact microbiomes, and Zitvogel’s group has shown that the chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide is dependent on the microbiota for its proper function.

Although the mechanisms by which the microbiome influences the effectiveness of such therapies remains incompletely understood, researchers once again speculate that the immune system is the key link. Cyclophosphamide, for example, spurs the body to generate two types of T?helper cells, T?helper 1 cells and a subtype of T?helper 17 cells referred to as “pathogenic,” both of which destroy tumor cells. Zitvogel and her colleagues found that, in mice with unaltered microbiomes, treatment with cyclophosphamide works by disrupting the intestinal mucosa, allowing bacteria to escape into the lymphoid tissues just outside the gut. There, the bacteria spur the body to generate T?helper 1 and T?helper 17 cells, which translocate to the tumor. When the researchers transferred the “pathogenic” T?helper 17 cells into antibiotic-treated mice, the mice’s response to chemotherapy was partly restored.

Microbiome modification

As the link between the microbiome and cancer becomes clearer, researchers are thinking about how they can manipulate a patient’s resident microbial communities to improve their prognosis and treatment outcomes. “Once you figure out exactly what is happening at the molecular level, if there is something promising there, I would be shocked if people don’t then go in and try to modulate the microbiome, either by using pharmaceuticals or using probiotics,” says Michael Burns, a postdoc in the lab of University of Minnesota genomicist Ran Blekhman.

Even if researchers succeed in identifying specific, beneficial alterations to the microbiome, however, molding the microbiome is not simple. “It’s a messy, complicated system that we don’t understand,” says Schloss.

So far, studies of the gut microbiome and colon cancer have turned up few consistent differences between cancer patients and healthy controls. And the few bacterial groups that have repeatedly shown up are not present in every cancer patient. “We should move away from saying, ‘This is a causal species of bacteria,’” says Blekhman. “It’s more the function of a community instead of just a single bacterium.”

But the study of the microbiome in cancer is young. If simply adding one type of microbe into a person’s gut is not enough, researchers may learn how to dose people with patient-specific combinations of microbes or antibiotics. In February 2016, a team based in Finland and China showed that a probiotic mixture dubbed Prohep could reduce liver tumor size by 40 percent in mice, likely by promoting an anti-inflammatory environment in the gut.16

“If it is true that, in humans, we can alter the course of the disease by modulating the composition of the microbiota,” says José Conejo-Garcia of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, “that’s going to be very impactful.”

Kate Yandell has been a freelance writer living Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In February she became an associate editor at Cancer Today.

GENETIC CONNECTION

The microbiome doesn’t act in isolation; a patient’s genetic background can also greatly influence response to therapy. Last year, for example, the Wistar Institute’s José Garcia-Conejo and Melanie Rutkowski, now an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, showed that a dominant polymorphism of the gene for the innate immune protein toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) influences clinical outcomes in cancer patients by changing how the patients’ immune cells interact with their gut microbes (Cancer Cell, 27:27-40, 2015).

More than 7 percent of people carry a specific mutation in TLR5 that prevents them from mounting a full immune response when exposed to bacterial flagellin. Analyzing both genetic and survival data from the Cancer Genome Atlas, Conejo-Garcia, Rutkowski, and their colleagues found that estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer patients who carry the TLR5 mutation, called the R392X polymorphism, have worse outcomes than patients without the mutation. Among patients with ovarian cancer, on the other hand, those with the TLR5 mutation were more likely to live at least six years after diagnosis than patients who don’t carry the mutation.

Investigating the mutation’s contradictory effects, the researchers found that mice with normal TLR5produce higher levels of the cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6) than those carrying the mutant version, which have higher levels of a different cytokine called interleukin 17 (IL-17). But when the researchers knocked out the animals’ microbiomes, these differences in cytokine production disappeared, as did the differences in cancer progression between mutant and wild-type animals.

“The effectiveness of depleting specific populations or modulating the composition of the microbiome is going to affect very differently people who are TLR5-positive or TLR5-negative,” says Conejo-Garcia. And Rutkowski speculates that many more polymorphisms linked to cancer prognosis may act via microbiome–immune system interactions. “I think that our paper is just the tip of the iceberg.”

References

  1. N. Iida et al., “Commensal bacteria control cancer response to therapy by modulating the tumor microenvironment,” Science, 342:967-70, 2013.
  2. S. Viaud et al., “The intestinal microbiota modulates the anticancer immune effects of cyclophosphamide,” Science, 342:971-76, 2013.
  3. J.R. Warren, B. Marshall, “Unidentified curved bacilli on gastric epithelium in active chronic gastritis,”Lancet, 321:1273-75, 1983.
  4. B.J. Marshall et al., “Attempt to fulfil Koch’s postulates for pyloric Campylobacter,” Med J Aust, 142:436-39, 1985.
  5. J. Parsonnet et al., “Helicobacter pylori infection and the risk of gastric carcinoma,” N Engl J Med, 325:1127-31, 1991.
  6. S. Kado et al., “Intestinal microflora are necessary for development of spontaneous adenocarcinoma of the large intestine in T-cell receptor β chain and p53 double-knockout mice,” Cancer Res, 61:2395-98, 2001.
  7. J.V. Newman et al., “Bacterial infection promotes colon tumorigenesis in ApcMin/+ mice,” J Infect Dis, 184:227-30, 2001.
  8. S.E. Erdman et al., “CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T lymphocytes inhibit microbially induced colon cancer in Rag2-deficient mice,” Am J Pathol, 162:691-702, 2003.
  9. J.P. Zackular et al., “The human gut microbiome as a screening tool for colorectal cancer,” Cancer Prev Res, 7:1112-21, 2014.
  10. G. Zeller et al., “Potential of fecal microbiota for early-stage detection of colorectal cancer,” Mol Syst Biol, 10:766, 2014.
  11. J.P. Zackular et al., “The gut microbiome modulates colon tumorigenesis,” mBio, 4:e00692-13, 2013.
  12. J.P. Zackular et al., “Manipulation of the gut microbiota reveals role in colon tumorigenesis,”mSphere, doi:10.1128/mSphere.00001-15, 2015.
  13. V.P. Rao et al., “Innate immune inflammatory response against enteric bacteria Helicobacter hepaticus induces mammary adenocarcinoma in mice,” Cancer Res, 66:7395, 2006.
  14. A. Sivan et al., “Commensal Bifidobacterium promotes antitumor immunity and facilitates anti-PD-L1 efficacy,” Science, 350:1084-89, 2015.
  15. M. Vétizou et al., “Anticancer immunotherapy by CTLA-4 blockade relies on the gut microbiota,”Science, 350:1079-84, 2015.

……..

 

Microbially Driven TLR5-Dependent Signaling Governs Distal Malignant Progression through Tumor-Promoting Inflammation

Melanie R. Rutkowski, Tom L. Stephen, Nikolaos Svoronos, …., Julia Tchou,  Gabriel A. Rabinovich, Jose R. Conejo-Garcia
Cancer cell    12 Jan 2015; Volume 27, Issue 1, p27–40  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2014.11.009
Figure thumbnail fx1
  • TLR5-dependent IL-6 mobilizes MDSCs that drive galectin-1 production by γδ T cells
  • IL-17 drives malignant progression in IL-6-unresponsive tumors
  • TLR5-dependent differences in tumor growth are abrogated upon microbiota depletion
  • A common dominant TLR5 polymorphism influences the outcome of human cancers

The dominant TLR5R392X polymorphism abrogates flagellin responses in >7% of humans. We report that TLR5-dependent commensal bacteria drive malignant progression at extramucosal locations by increasing systemic IL-6, which drives mobilization of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Mechanistically, expanded granulocytic MDSCs cause γδ lymphocytes in TLR5-responsive tumors to secrete galectin-1, dampening antitumor immunity and accelerating malignant progression. In contrast, IL-17 is consistently upregulated in TLR5-unresponsive tumor-bearing mice but only accelerates malignant progression in IL-6-unresponsive tumors. Importantly, depletion of commensal bacteria abrogates TLR5-dependent differences in tumor growth. Contrasting differences in inflammatory cytokines and malignant evolution are recapitulated in TLR5-responsive/unresponsive ovarian and breast cancer patients. Therefore, inflammation, antitumor immunity, and the clinical outcome of cancer patients are influenced by a common TLR5 polymorphism.

see also… Immune Influence

In recent years, research has demonstrated that microbes living in and on the mammalian body can affect cancer risk, as well as responses to cancer treatment.

By Kate Yandell | April 1, 2016

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/45644/title/Immune-Influence

Although the details of this microbe-cancer link remain unclear, investigators suspect that the microbiome’s ability to modulate inflammation and train immune cells to react to tumors is to blame. Here are some of the hypotheses that have come out of recent research in rodents for how gut bacteria shape immunity and influence cancer.

HOW THE MICROBIOME PROMOTES CANCER

Gut bacteria can dial up inflammation locally in the colon, as well as in other parts of the body, leading to the release of reactive oxygen species, which damage cells and DNA, and of growth factors that spur tumor growth and blood vessel formation.

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Helicobacter pylori can cause inflammation and high cell turnover in the stomach wall, which may lead to cancerous growth.

HOW THE MICROBIOME STEMS CANCER

Gut bacteria can also produce factors that lower inflammation and slow tumor growth. Some gut bacteria (e.g., Bifidobacterium)
appear to activate dendritic cells,
which present cancer-cell antigens to T cells that in turn kill the cancer cells.

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Read the full story.

 

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Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

Dramatic remissions in blood cancer in immunotherapy treatment trial

“We are at the precipice of a revolution in cancer treatment based on using immunotherapy.” — Stanley Riddell, MD

Recent advances in an immune-cell cancer treatment — a type of immunotherapy* using engineered immune cells to target specific molecules on cancer cells — are producing dramatic results for people with cancer, according to Stanley Riddell, MD, an immunotherapy researcher and oncologist at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.**

Riddell and his colleagues have refined new methods of engineering a patient’s own immune cells to better target and kill cancer cells while decreasing side effects. In laboratory and clinical trials, the researchers are seeing “dramatic responses” in patients with tumors that are resistant to conventional high-dose chemotherapy, “providing new hope for patients with many different kinds of malignancies,” Riddell said.

https://youtu.be/6mt7AyepE74?list=PLFb_Mc_opwOHti4qsYXvZWhXWvk41Wf9_

Twenty-seven out of 29 patients with an advanced blood cancer who received experimental, “living” immunotherapy as part of a clinical trial experienced sustained remissions, in preliminary results of an ongoing study at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Boosting natural immune response

Adoptive T-cell transfer aims to boost a patient’s immune cells’ ability to recognize and attack cancer cells. (1) T cells are extracted from the patient’s blood, (2) genetically engineered to produce a molecule that recognizes cancer cells and grown in the laboratory, and (3) infused back into the patient to (4) improve immune response. (credit: LUNGevity Foundation)

The immune system produces two major types of immune reaction to protect the body: one uses antibodies secreted by B cells; the other uses T cells.

Riddell’s team takes T cells from the patient’s body, re-engineers them, and infuses them back into the patient to create an army of cancer-fighting immune cells. (credit: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)

http://www.kurzweilai.net/images/T-cells.jpg

T cells are white blood cells that detect foreign or abnormal cells — including cancerous or infected cells — and initiate a process that targets those cells for attack. But the natural immune response to a tumor is often neither potent nor persistent enough, so Riddell and associates pioneered a new way to boost this immune response using a method known as “adoptive T-cell transfer.”

With adoptive T-cell transfer, immune cells are engineered to recognize and attack the patient’s cancer cells. Researchers extract T cells from a patient’s blood and then introduce genes into those T cells so they synthesize highly potent receptors (called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs) that can recognize and target the cancer cell.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/images/20-million-T-cells.jpg

A single treatment of a relatively small number of the re-engineered T cells only takes about 30 minutes, and within weeks, the patient goes into a complete remission. (credit: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)

They grow the T cells in a laboratory for about two weeks and then infuse the engineered cells back into the patient, where they can home in on the tumor site and destroy the cancer cells.

Sustained remission of B cell cancers

Riddell’s team has recently developed a refined version of this process that increases the effectiveness of the immune response while reducing negative side effects, such as neurological symptoms, fevers, and large decreases in blood pressure.

In a study published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, Riddell and his team describe tagging the potent T-cell receptor (with amino acid sequences called Strep-tag), and the resulting effect on human cancer cells in the laboratory and on a mouse model of lymphoma.

Those results, using the latest version of this experimental immunotherapy, suggest sustained remission in cases of B cell cancers that previously relapsed and had become resistant to treatment.***

“The results are simply astounding,” Riddell said. We are treating patients with advanced leukemia and lymphoma that have failed every conventional therapy and radiation therapy, including transplants … in a single treatment. Within weeks, the patient goes into remission.”

“In my years as a oncologist and as a research scientist, I have never seen a treatment that has that spectacular response rate in its initial testing in patients,” Riddell said. His team is initiating trials in lung, breast, sarcoma, melanoma, and soon in pancreatic cancer. The opportunities for this technology are “incredible” and the approach has the potential to also treat common cancers such as kidney and colon cancer, he said.

“We are at the precipice of a revolution in cancer treatment based on using immunotherapy.”

Funding for Riddell’s research was provided by Juno Therapeutics.

* For approximately 100 years, the main tools to treat cancer were surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. But since around 2000, doctors have had access to a type of immunotherapy based on engineered antibodies that can target specific molecules on cancer cells. For example, trastuzumab (Herceptin) can be used for some types of breast cancer and stomach cancer. The new treatment approach used by Riddell’s team is based on a new type of immunotherapy using engineered immune cells to kill cancer, rather than antibodies.

** Stanley Riddell. Engineering T cells for safe and effective cancer immunotherapy. 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C., February 2016.

*** Such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.


Abstract of Acquisition of a CD19 negative myeloid phenotype allows immune escape of MLL-rearranged B-ALL from CD19 CAR-T cell therapy

Administration of lymphodepletion chemotherapy followed by CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells is a remarkably effective approach to treat patients with relapsed and refractory CD19+ B cell malignancies. We treated 7 patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) harboring rearrangement of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene with CD19 CAR-T cells. All patients achieved complete remission in the bone marrow by flow cytometry after CD19 CAR-T cell therapy; however, within one month of CAR-T cell infusion two of the patients developed acute myeloid leukemia that was clonally related to their B-ALL, a novel mechanism of CD19-negative immune escape. These reports have implications for the management of patients with relapsed and refractory MLL-B-ALL who receive CD19 CAR-T cell therapy.


Abstract of Inclusion of Strep-tag II in design of antigen receptors for T-cell immunotherapy

Adoptive immunotherapy with genetically engineered T cells has the potential to treat cancer and other diseases. The introduction of Strep-tag II sequences into specific sites in synthetic chimeric antigen receptors or natural T-cell receptors of diverse specificities provides engineered T cells with a marker for identification and rapid purification, a method for tailoring spacer length of chimeric receptors for optimal function, and a functional element for selective antibody-coated, microbead-driven, large-scale expansion. These receptor designs facilitate cGMP manufacturing of pure populations of engineered T cells for adoptive T-cell therapies and enable in vivo tracking and retrieval of transferred cells for downstream research applications.

references:

It is great that immunotherapy is being highlighted! However the approach they are using is misguided. Cancer occurs from constant chemical attack by free radicals and other types of chemical or forms of damage like radiation. The objective is prevention and secret is in the diet. If you already have it you have to eliminate all the bad stuff and start consuming nutrients that will enhance your immune system so it takes care of the cancer with the T cells. Watch this video and go to minute 38 where the Doc starts explaining this.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj1PK0LHJwg

 

Having survived terminal cancer with a dietary approach, what you say is too simplistic.

Cancer is anything that interferes with any of the many growth inhibition pathways the prevent individual cells within the cooperative society of cells that is an animal body from growing in a fashion that puts the whole cooperative system at risk.

Certainly diet, largely via its effect on our immune system, and certainly in some degrees by other mechanisms also, can play a huge role in that. The particular regime I am on is strictly vegan, largely raw, and high dose vitamin c and supplementation of other vitamin/mineral complexes in very low doses.

The work in this article looks very promising, and in most people it would be unnecessary if they changed their diet and bought the contribution from animal products (meat, dairy, fish and foul etc) to below 10% of total calories. Going to zero seems to slightly reduce the risk even further, but not hugely. Along with that one needs to reduce stress (which seems to be not directly about external factors, but more accurately how we contextualise and respond to them).

 

Immunotherapy historically has involved all arms of the immune system in experimental treatments. That includes not only trained white blood cells, but B-cell antibodies and T-cell antibodies. In some experiments they attached poisons such as ricin to kill the cancer cells.Indeed most anti-cancer drugs can theoretically be attached to antibodies to kill of cancer cells specifically.Most approaches have had miraculous cures and remissions of hopelessly ill cancer patients who were dying.They are not offered to people who have no other hope except as small treatment studies.Why? Oncol;ogy is a big medical business, to cure it outright would put Oncologists out of work.The giant pharmaceutical companies that sell super expensive drugs would lose great gobs of money.They have some of the biggest lobbies in congress to maintain their business.
Often Immunotherapy of whatever form will have dangerous side effects.Some people do die from the treatments.It is unetihcal to refuse to give people who have a few weeks or minths to live a shot at these miracle treatments. In the case of enhanced T-cell therapy such as this one it can be difficult to control how extreme the body attacks. Today they have the means to put in genetic switches which will simply turn off the T-cells or any other cell line, by turning off the genes responsible for the action.One such switch is being produced by the company Intrexon using the insect molting hormone ecdysone to stop and start the genes of any organism.There almost certainly could be analogous techniques to biochemically create similar results if we understand how this one works.— I will be dead and gone a thousand years before any of this is cheaply available to the general population.

 

Despite the fact that immunotherapy has attracted considerable interest in recent years because of major progress in the identification of human tumor antigens (TA) suitable for clinical use, considerable obstacles to the development of clinically effective immunotherapy still exists including inability to:

induce expansion of large pools of antigen specific CD8+ T cells

maintain durable anti-tumor immunity > 5 years

overcome inherent tolerogenic mechanisms, such as CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs)

Unfortunately understanding the effectiveness of this new protocol with respect to resolving these obstacles takes time and future studies with larger cohorts.

 

 

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Meeting Announcement: Cancer Immunotherapy and Combinations June 15-16 2016

 

Cancer Immunotherapy & Combinations – June 15-16, 2016 in Boston, MA

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Final Brochure PDF | Learn More | Sponsorship & Exhibit Details | Register by March 4 & SAVE up to $400!

Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s inaugural Cancer Immunotherapy and Combinations meeting will convene immuno-oncology researchers, cancer immunotherapy developers, and technology providers to discuss next-generation approaches and combinations, including small molecule development, to enhance the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors.

BISPECIFIC ANTIBODIES – DUAL TARGETING

FEATURED PRESENTATION: ANTI-PD1 OR CD137 ENHANCES NK-CELL CYTOTOXICITY TOWARDS CD30+ HODGKIN LYMPHOMA INDUCED BY CD30/CD16A TANDAB AFM13
Martin Treder, Ph.D., CSO, R&D, Affimed

In vivo Efficacy of Bispecific Antibodies Targeting Two Immune-Modulatory Receptors
Jacqueline Doody, Ph.D., Vice President, Immunology, F-star Biotechnology, Ltd

Dual-Targeting Bispecific Antibodies for Selective Neutralization of CD47 on Cancer Cells
Krzysztof Masternak, Ph.D., Head, Biology, Therapeutic Antibody Discovery, Novimmune

Update on MCLA-134: A Biclonics® Binding Two Immunomodulatory Targets Expressed by T Cells
Mark Throsby, Ph.D., CSO, Merus

The ImmTAC Technology: A Cutting-Edge Immunotherapy for Cancer Treatment
Samir Hassan, Ph.D., Director, Translational Research & Development, Immunocore Ltd.

RADIOTHERAPY AND CHEMOTHERAPY – PD-1 COMBINATIONS

Rational Development of Combinations of Antiangiogenic Therapy with Immune Checkpoint Blockers Using Mouse Models of HCC and Cirrhosis
Dan Duda, D.M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Harnessing the Immune Microenvironment of Gastrointestinal Cancers Using Combined Modalities
Osama Rahma, M.D., Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine/Oncology, University of Virginia

AGONIST – PD-1 AND CTLA-4 COMBINATIONS

The Role of the Target in the Disposition and Immunogenicity of an Anti-GITR Agonist Antibody
Enrique Escandón, Ph.D., Senior Principal Scientist, DMPK and Disposition, Merck

Combination of 4-1BB Agonist and PD-1 Antagonist Promotes Antitumor Effector/Memory CD8 T Cells
Changyu Wang, Ph.D., Director, Cancer Immunology, Pfizer

Combination Immunotherapy with Checkpoint Blockade, Agonist Anti-OX40 mAb, and Vaccination Rescues Anergic CD8 T Cells
William Redmond, Ph.D., Associate Member, Laboratory of Cancer Immunotherapy, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Portland Medical Center

Interactive Breakout Discussion Groups with Continental Breakfast

This session features various discussion groups that are led by a moderator/s who ensures focused conversations around the key issues listed. Attendees choose to join a specific group and the small, informal setting facilitates sharing of ideas and active networking. Continental breakfast is available for all participants.

Topic: Small Molecule Targeting of IDO1 and TDO for Cancer Immunotherapy

Moderator: Rogier Buijsman, Ph.D., Head, Chemistry, Netherlands Translational Research Center B.V. (NTRC)

  • Overcoming challenges of current IDO1 inhibitors lacking selectivity over TDO and having suboptimal drug-like properties
  • Advances in IDO1 and TDO inhibitor screening
  • Is selective IDO1 or TDO inhibitors is required, or a dual IDO1/TDO inhibitor is preferred to obtain optimal efficacy and safety in the clinic?

Topic: Strategies for Developing Bispecific Antibodies for Cancer Immunotherapy

Moderator: Krzysztof Masternak, Ph.D., Head, Biology, Therapeutic Antibody Discovery, Novimmune

  • Considerations for efficacy in vitro and in vivo: selectivity for tumor cells, ADCP, ADCC, in vivo efficacy (xenograft models)
  • Insights into mechanisms of action
  • Safety considerations: binding selectivity, PK and tox studies

Topic: Combining Standard Antiangiogenic Therapy with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Moderator: Dan Duda, D.M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

  • Will checkpoint combination with chemotherapy or other targeted agents prove to have too many toxicity issues?
  • How do we minimize overlapping toxic effects of radiation and immunotherapy?
  • How to optimize the sequencing of these two treatment modalities?

SMALL MOLECULE INHIBITORS AS SINGLE AND CHECKPOINT COMBINATION AGENTS

Selective Small Molecule Inhibitors of IDO1 and TDO for Cancer Immunotherapy
Rogier Buijsman, Ph.D., Head, Chemistry, Netherlands Translational Research Center B.V. (NTRC)

Potent and Selective Small Molecule USP7 Inhibitors for Cancer Immunotherapy
Suresh Kumar, Ph.D., Director, R&D, Progenra, Inc.

Epigenetic Agents for Combination with Cancer Immunotherapy
Svetlana Hamm, Ph.D., Head, Biology, Translational Pharmacology, 4SC Group

VACCINES AND CHECKPOINT BLOCKADE IMMUNOTHERAPY

Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma with an in vivo DC Vaccine and PD-1/PD-L1 Blockade
Huabiao Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, Massachusetts General Hospital

Bringing Together Checkpoint Inhibition with Vaccines Using Customizing Capsids
Willie Quinn, Ph.D., President & CEO, Bullet Bio

Recommended All Access Package:

June 14 SC1: Immunosequencing: Generating a New Class of Cancer Immunotherapy Diagnostics*

June 14 SC5: Convergence of Immunotherapy and Epigenetics for Cancer Treatment*

June 14 SC8: Rational Design of Cancer Combination Therapies*

June 15-16: Cancer Immunotherapy and Combinations

June 16-17: Tumor Models for Cancer Immunotherapy

* Separate registration required.

Exhibit booth space has sold out! The few remaining spaces are being sold via sponsorship only. To customize yoursponsorship package, please contact:
Joseph Vacca, M.Sc., Associate Director, Business Development, 781-972-5431, jvacca@healthtech.com

For more information visit

WorldPreclinicalCongress.com/Cancer-Immunotherapy-Combinations

Cambridge Healthtech Institute, 250 First Avenue, Suite 300, Needham, MA 02494 healthtech.com
Tel: 781-972-5400 | Fax: 781-972-5425

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Will President Obama’ s Cancer Immunotherapy Colloquium (dubbed Moonshot) mean Government is Fully Behind the War on Cancer or have we heard this before?

 

UPDATED on 12/13/2016

Greg Simon, White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force: Interview Q&A

Dec 12, 2016 | AnnouncementsQ&ASpeaker spotlights |

The following is an interview recently conducted by PMWC with Greg Simon, Executive Director at the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force. The discussion focused on the future of the Cancer Moonshot with the upcoming change of administration.

A status update on the Cancer Moonshot will be presented at the upcoming Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2017 Silicon Valley. To registerclick here.

http://www.pmwcintl.com/greg-simon-qa/

 

SOURCE:

From: Tal Behar <talb=pmwcintl.com@mail61.atl161.mcsv.net> on behalf of Tal Behar <talb@pmwcintl.com>

Reply-To: Tal Behar <talb@pmwcintl.com>

Date: Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:40 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: PMWC News – Late Breaking Interview – The White House Cancer Moonshot in Limbo

 

 

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D

potusmoonshotannouncementsotus

President Obama announces a “Moonshot” Program to create collaborations aimed at developing immunotherapies to cure cancer by 2020 at his last State of the Union Address. Vice President Biden will lead the effort.

 

From Cancer Letters

  • Obama Announces Moonshot to Cure Cancer
  • When Moonshots Collide
  • Soon-Shiong Says FDA & NCI are Onboard For His Moonshot; Feds Deny Involvement

Obama Announces Moonshot to Cure Cancer

President Barack Obama announced a moonshot aimed at curing cancer, a project to be led by Vice President Joe Biden.

The United States can do “so much more,” Obama said in his seventh and final State of the Union address Jan. 12. “Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had over a decade.

“Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past 40 years, I’m putting Joe in charge of mission control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save—let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”

  When Moonshots Collide

Did Patrick Soon-Shiong attempt to scoop President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address?

Several days before Obama announced the federal government’s moonshot to cure cancer, Soon-Shiong put out a draft press release, claiming that the White House, NIH, FDA and pharmaceutical companies have united in “Cancer MoonShot 2020,” an immunotherapy clinical trials program he devised.

Soon-Shiong, founder and CEO of NantWorks and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, ultimately announced his moonshot on Jan. 11, a day before Obama announced his.

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

Soon-Shiong Says FDA & NCI are Onboard For His Moonshot; Feds Deny Involvement

Government agencies said the biotechnology billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong had overstated the extent of their involvement in “Cancer MoonShot 2020,” the immunotherapy clinical trials program he put together.

In an in-depth conversation with Matthew Bin Han Ong, a reporter with The Cancer Letter, Soon-Shiong said that while his program doesn’t seek federal funds, it has the support of NCI and FDA officials.

Soon-Shiong said he and Vice President Joe Biden met to discuss their interlocking missions and are now pursuing them.

 

From the AACR website

AACR Thanks President Obama and Vice President Biden for Their Strong Commitment to Cancer Research and Biomedical Science in State of the Union Address

1/12/2016

PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) applauds and commends President Obama and Vice President Biden for their dedication in the fight against cancer discussed during tonight’s State of the Union address.

The AACR looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to make faster progress against cancer so that we might achieve the goal that Vice President Biden outlined during his speech in the Rose Garden Oct. 21, 2015, specifically that now is the time to make an “absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today.”

“We have indeed reached an inflection point, where the number of discoveries that are being made at such an accelerated pace are saving lives and bringing enormous hope for cancer patients, even those with advanced disease,” said AACR President José Baselga, MD, PhD, physician-in-chief and chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Now is the time for a major new initiative in cancer science that supports and builds upon our basic science foundation while translating these exciting scientific discoveries into improved treatments for cancer patients, such as in the areas of genomics, precision medicine, and immuno-oncology. Tonight’s State of the Union address underscores the importance of collaborations if we are to achieve the vision that President Obama has outlined.”

To that end, on Jan. 8, a group of 15 AACR members, led by Baselga and comprising a number of AACR Board Members, and other AACR leaders from nine states and 10 of the top cancer centers and medical institutions in the U.S., met with Vice President Biden’s senior staff to discuss the state of cancer research, as well as Vice President Biden’s commitment to leading in this important issue.

From Philly.com

Biden to open effort to fight cancer Friday at Penn

 

011316_Biden-SOTU

US Vice President Biden will meet with University of Pennsylvania researchers to discuss the new Moonshot program to eliminate cancer. Photo from http://www.philly.com

 

Jonathan Tamari

Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2016, 4:14 PM

image: http://media.philly.com/designimages/partnerIcon-Inquirer-2014.jpg

WASHINGTON – Vice President Biden will launch his effort to find a cure for cancer Friday in Philadelphia, with a visit to Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center at the school’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Biden announced the visit in an online post Tuesday night, when the call to cure the disease was one of the highlights of President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

“It’s personal for me. But it’s also personal for nearly every American, and millions of people around the world,” said Biden’s post on Medium. The vice president’s son Beau died of brain cancer at the age of 46 last year.

Biden compared the effort to President Kennedy’s call to go to the moon.

“From my own personal experience, I’ve learned that research and therapies are on the cusp of incredible breakthroughs,” Biden wrote. “The goal of this initiative — this “Moonshot” — is to seize this moment.”
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/capitolinq/Biden-to-open-effort-to-fight-cancer-Friday-at-Penn.html#sQFbeebwSDM17S0d.99

 

Biden to tour labs, meet cancer researchers at Penn

 

Vice President Biden is scheduled to spend part of Friday afternoon at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center, the first stop on his quest for the United States to cure cancer. President Obama announced the new “Moon Shot” mission during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, comparing it with John F. Kennedy’s 1961 declaration to Congress that the nation would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.Biden’s 3 p.m. visit includes a tour of laboratories and a roundtable discussion with researchers at the Smilow Center for Translational Research and the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, both 3400 Civic Center Blvd. The events are not open to the public but are likely to cause some disruption.

In an internal e-mail Thursday afternoon, Garry Scheib, CEO of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, told employees that parts of the building would be emptied for security reasons from 11 a.m. through evening. “In addition, the Secret Service will temporarily close roadways near our campus to allow for secure transport of the Vice President,” Scheib wrote.

– Don Sapatkin
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/health/20160115_Biden_to_visit_Penn_cancer_center_Friday_afternoon.html#vCpr4Hfu2AGYLSoX.99

 

Billionaire pulls together drugmakers, IBX for cancer collaboration

A billionaire medical entrepreneur has pulled together several drugmakers and Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross to speed development of what researchers hope could be a powerful weapon against cancers – potent combinations of new drugs that harness the body’s immune system.

So-called immunotherapies help disease-fighting cells attack tumors. Yet researchers believe they may work best when two, three, or more of the drugs are used together – overwhelming a tumor’s cellular defenses with attacks from all sides.

The group – called the National Immunotherapy Coalition – brought together by Patrick Soon-Shiong calls itself Moon Shot 2020. The name spun out of conversations Soon-Shiong had last year with Vice President Biden, whose son Beau died of cancer in May. In his October announcement that he was not running for president, Biden suggested a project of moon-shot proportions would be needed to defeat cancer.

A controversial figure in oncology research circles because of his self-promotion, Soon-Shiong made his fortune by inventing the cancer drug Abraxane in the early 1990s. California-based Amgen and New Jersey-based Celgene have joined the effort. Early reports suggested Pfizer, Merck, and GlaxoSmithKline might participate, but other reports indicated they had not as of Monday.

Independence Blue Cross said in a statement Monday that it entered into an agreement with NantHealth, one of Soon-Shiong’s companies, to cover next-generation whole genome sequencing, which is a test designed to detect gene mutations that may serve as markers to help doctors choose cancer treatment.

Independence said its agreement with NantHealth involves a “very specific and complex lab study” related to certain types of cancer. The test will be covered for members with “specific conditions including rare cancers, tumors in children, metastatic cancer of unknown primary, primary brain cancer, triple negative breast cancer, and metastatic cancer where conventional therapies have been exhausted and patients remain candidates for further therapy. Coverage for the testing will be available to eligible members of Independence commercial plans in March 2016.”

As for the National Immunotherapy Coalition, Independence said members referred by their oncologist for participation in one of the approved Moon Shot 2020 clinical trials will be eligible for coverage for the routine patient care costs related to the trial. The coverage includes all routine services required for the patient – such as blood tests, supportive medications, and surgical interventions.

“Independence Blue Cross is committed to bringing state-of-the-art advances in oncology to our members and making care accessible and affordable,” Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO, Independence Blue Cross, said in the statement. “Decisions around cancer care are complex and personal. We’re focused on supporting Independence members and their oncologists by offering coverage for this innovative approach to treating cancer. Whole genome sequencing is one more option to help inform a personalized, effective treatment plan.”
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20160112_Billionaire_pulls_together_drugmakers__IBX_for_cancer_collaboration.html#XuXeFCydClgRsX0W.99

 

This is a Great Announcement But What is the History of the Government and THE WAR on CANCER? (Have we heard this before?)

 

The War on Cancer (launced by US President Nixon in the early 1970’s) has been discussed on this site from a historical perspective

2013 Perspective on “War on Cancer” on December 23, 1971

 

as well as the further needs the cancer field needs from this governmental effort

War on Cancer Needs to Refocus to Stay Ahead of Disease Says Cancer Expert

World facing cancer ‘tidal wave’, warns WHO

 

A summation of these efforts would say we have achieved great results in reducing the burden of cancer (through smoking cessation, early screening programs, better education, as well as therapeutic advances) however as the worldwide populace ages we are, and will see, a “rising tidal wave” of cancer incidence across the globe, and cancer researchers are feeling we are at an important precipice on this war, one which could be lost.

And the program which both President Obama and Vice President Biden are suggesting, the power would be a massive collaboration between government, academia, industry, and patient advocacy will certainly produce positive results.

However these efforts have been ongoing as with the University of Pennsylvania-Novartis deal to work together on CAR-T therapies for leukemias as well as other cancers

New Facility Poised to Accelerate the Research and Development of Personalized Cellular Cancer Therapies

 

as well as other academic-industry partnerships in immuno-oncology.

There have been other such announcements in recent years (mainly to draw in research $ or assist in forming academia-industry partnerships) such as:

NCI sets goal of eliminating suffering and death due to cancer by 2015.

 

In 2003 then NCI president Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach announced, after discussions with leaders in the field, that

“I have proposed a challenge goal for the field of cancer research- to eliminate suffering and death due to cancer by 2015. I issued this challenge because I believe we are at a ‘strategic inflection’ in oncology…”

Later in early decade of 2010 another program began to help make a push to recoup some of the government research $ lost to budgetary constraints on the NIH

STAND UP TO CANCER

stand-up-2-cancer

This program has met much success in raising money, awareness, and clinical trial enrollment (following shows current stats from the organization site)

Founded: May 28, 2008
Funds Pledged since inception: Over $370 Million
Number of scientists participating in SU2C-funded research: Over 1000
Clinical Trails funded by SU2C planned, initiated or completed: Over 160
Patients enrolled in SU2C supported Clinical Trials: Over 6,000 patients
Number of institutions joining in SU2C’s collaborative mission: 129

However, although it has grown the cancer research world encompasses a greater number than they can provide for.

 

In short, there has been no government effort much like Nixon’s War on Cancer, which took an obscure disease at the time and not only put it in the limelight but probably the most powerful result was the creation of the National Cancer Institute, thereby developing a framework to promote cancer research for the next century. President Obama should be applauded for this effort yet the real test for the Moonshot program will be to create, much like the NCI did, a self-perpetuating system by which continued further advancement can be made.

 

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Kite Pharma is joining forces with Alpine Immune Sciences to target the immune synapse, the communications area between the antigen presenting cell and the T lymphocyte (FierceBiotech). Their approach is to specifically modify the T cells in the patient’s peripheral blood so that these T cells will target the patient’s tumour. Their engineered Autologous Cell Therapy (eACT) platform, allows them to modify in vitro the patient’s T cells so that they will express either chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) or T cell receptors (TCR).

They have devised single chain antibodies linked to intracellular T-cell activating domains and TCR to specifically target the tumour antigen in the patient. These modifications are introduced into the T-cells via a viral vector to express the CAR and TCR on these cells.

The CAR products are specifically engineered to target cell membrane antigens on the tumour cells, whilst the TCR products are able to target both the cell membrane and the intracellular antigens, giving these products a well rounded approach to targeting both solid tumours and haemtalogical malignancies.

Kite and Alpine Immune Science’s potential for delivering personalised tumour therapy is now being tested in clinical trials.

Kite Pharma

Alpine Immune Sciences

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