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Dates TBC (March 2019) | Boston, MA

Workshop A
Monday, March 19 2018

09.00 - 12.00
The Role of the Microbiome in Immuno-Oncology Mechanisms & Therapies

The microbiome has a profound effect on immune cell function and inflammation, which is a hallmark of cancer. Yet our knowledge of these underlying mechanisms is just beginning to be translated into cancer therapies.

In this workshop, we will discuss the dynamic nature and inter-individual variation of the microbiome and how this is applicable to precision medicine. The strengths and limitations of high-throughput sequencing of human clinical samples and gnotobiotic mouse models of cancer will both be explored.

Gain insights into:

  • The influence of microbiota on the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors for immunotherapy
  • The prospect of developing drugs targeting microbial enzymes as chemotherapy adjuvants to mitigate inflammatory adverse effects
  • The role of microbiota in regulation of T cell subsets (e.g., Treg and Th17) and cytokine expression (e.g., IL-10)
  • Probiotics and prebiotics: the metabolic capacity of gut microbiota to prevent cancer via anti-inflammatory mechanisms

Workshop Leaders:

Scott Bultman, Associate Professor, Genetics, UNC School of Medicine
Lata Jayaraman, Head of Tumor Immunotherapy, Seres Therapeutics

Workshop B
Monday, March 19 2018

09.00 - 12.00
Immunogenicity of Therapeutic Proteins – Considerations for Immune Checkpoint Blocker Therapeutics

Immune checkpoint blockade therapy is emerging as a revolutionary approach to cancer treatment. However, because of the protein origin of many of these therapies, there is a potential for development of unwanted immunogenic responses to the protein therapies that could limit their efficacy and/or also elicit safety consequences in treated patients.  In addition, immunogenic responses can occur in preclinical animal models and confound the interpretation of PK, PD and safety study results.

In this workshop we will discuss the causes of unwanted therapeutic protein immunogenicity, how immunogenicity is currently measured and monitored during preclinical and clinical evaluation, clinical use of protein therapeutics, and strategies to predict, mitigate and manage immunogenicity.

Gain insights into:

  • Product, patient and treatment-related factors that contribute to development of unwanted immunogenicity and unwanted consequences
  • How to determine appropriate assay formats, what are the assay limitations, and how we should interpret results
  • What is currently known about immunogenicity of immune checkpoint inhibitors?
  • What strategies are available to predict, mitigate and manage unwanted immunogenicity?
  • What are the regulatory expectations for immunogenicity assessment and management in preclinical and clinical studies?

Workshop Leader:

Bonnie Rup, Biopharmaceutical Consultant, Bonnie Rup Consulting

Workshop C
Monday, March 19 2018

13.00 - 16.00
Evaluating Available In Vivo Models For The Development Of IO Therapeutic Agents

An unprecedented range of combination approaches are currently under investigation, but without robust preclinical validation backing the mechanism of action of these strategies, many of these studies will fail to reach their clear potential. This interactive workshop will incorporate insights into a range of in vivo modelling approaches, providing you with the valuable tools to enhance your preclinical development.

You’ll come away with a comprehensive immuno-oncology preclinical strategy, including insights that will allow you to improve the robustness of your preclinical approach.

Gain insights into:

  • The relative advantages of the range of in vivo models available to develop IO therapeutics
  • How models can replicate a more natural and translationally relevant tumor microenvironment
  • The situations in which syngeneic mice, GEMMs and strategies of immune system humanisation in mice can add most value to preclinical development
  • The predictive validity, efficacy and safety of humanized mouse models

Workshop Leader:

Barbara Joyce-Shaikh, Associate Principal Scientist, Merck

Workshop D
Monday, March 19 2018

13.00 - 16.00
Investigating Techniques to Discover Neoantigens & the Role They Can Play In Cancer Immunotherapy

For many, the future of the cancer immunotherapy field lies in personalizing therapeutics to specific mutations to increase their efficacy. Recent findings have placed increasing recognition on the role of neoantigens in this personalization, and it’s clear that the analysis of neoantigens will provide crucial insights into the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies.

This workshop will provide an insight into the role of neoantigens in the response to cancer immunotherapy, before providing a detailed insight into techniques to identify neoantigens from patient samples.

Gain insights into:

  • The importance of neoantigen analysis in personalizing immunotherapy
  • Mass spectrometry approaches used in the detection of  neo-epitopes
  • The development of personalized vaccines based on the in-depth analysis of tumor antigens

Workshop Leader:

Michal Bassani-Sternberg, Director, Immunopeptidomics Unit at Center of Experimental Therapeutics, UNIL/CHUV