The Sentinel


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

JITC Letter from the Editor - March 2019

pedro-romero_1__1_.jpgDear JITC Readers,

In the March edition of the JITC Digest, there are five important articles of which I would like to draw attention. First, the article “HDAC6 selective inhibition of melanoma patient T-cells augments anti-tumor characteristics,” by Andressa S. Laino et al. details the development of two HDAC6-selective inhibitors, ACY-1215 and ACY-241 as modulators of human T cell properties. Through ex vivo studies and at concentrations achievable in human patients, the reported HDAC6 inhibitors did considerably enhance melanoma patient T cell functions suggesting potential therapeutic efficacy.

Next, the research article, “Persistent mutant oncogene specific T cells in two patients benefitting from anti-PD-1,” by Kellie N. Smith et al. reports two cases of patients with biomarker-negative tumors (low mutational burden, negative for PD-L1, MMR proficient), each of which maintained a T cell response to a hotspot oncogenic mutation years after treatment initiation and both of whom derived durable clinical benefit from PD-1 blockade. Such results demonstrate that driver mutations may elicit efficient and durable anti-tumor immune responses and augment clinical response to immunotherapy.

Furthermore, the article, “Cancer-cell-secreted CXCL11 promoted CD8+ T cells infiltration through docetaxel-induced-release of HMGB1 in NSCLC,” by Qun Gao et al. presents novel data demonstrating the ability of docetaxel to upregulate CXCL11 in the tumor microenvironment through the release of HMGB1, subsequently driving the recruitment of CD8+ T cells and eliciting an improved immune response. This data supports the further development of clinical studies to measure anti-tumor immune response after docetaxel treatment in cancer patients.

“The IL-1/IL-1 receptor axis and tumor cell released inflammasome adaptor ASC are key regulators of TSLP secretion by cancer associated fibroblasts in pancreatic cancer,” by Emanuela Brunetto et al. identified tumor-derived IL-1-alpha and IL-1-beta as key cytokines in driving thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TLSP) secretion by cancer associated fibroblasts and tumor-released ASC. Results also demonstrate that treatment with an IL-1R antagonist significantly reduces TSLP expression in in vivo tumor models, providing support to the further assessment of therapies which aim to interfere with such pathways.

Finally, Cynthia Perez et al.’s article, “NKG2D signaling certifies effector CD8 T cells for memory formation,” shows that signaling through NKG2D in primary effector CD8 T cells is required for their differentiation into functional memory cells. As a better understanding of how long-term memory cells are formed from the initial effector pool of CD8 T cells remains an essential objective in immunology, this process of “memory certification” provides important clues to the development of improved vaccines and adoptive cellular therapies.

With best regards,

Pedro J. Romero, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

To view the entire March 2019 JITC Digest, please click here

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

President's Message - March 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Last month, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) recognized and celebrated International Day of Women and Girls in Science. With International Women’s Day approaching (March 8), it reminds us of our responsibility and commitment to help advance the careers of women in the cancer immunotherapy field.

As the successor to the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) first female president, Lisa H. Butterfield, PhD, I am privileged to continue and expand our society’s support of women involved with research and development in the laboratory, clinic, industry and all other areas related to immuno-oncology.

Dr. Butterfield championed many causes, programs and initiatives during her tenure as SITC President, including working to ensure the society was recognizing and encouraging professional development for women. This included hosting women’s receptions at the past two SITC Annual Meetings, offering women an opportunity to network, celebrate successes and discuss important topics critical to their advancement.

Through Dr. Butterfield’s continued leadership, and with support from many of our fellow colleagues, SITC will host its first-ever Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network (WIN) Leadership Institute this summer. Scheduled for Aug. 19–20, 2019, in Seattle, the SITC WIN Leadership Institute will provide a forum for attendees to discuss important topics relevant to their advancement, including how to break through the glass ceiling; negotiation tactics; and critical leadership skills. Also of note, the program is free to attend. Women interested in attending this exciting one-and-a-half-day program are encouraged to submit an application by April 15.

SITC is currently recruiting our members to join the Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network Database. This database will contain a repository of leaders in the field of cancer immunotherapy with an interest in serving as subject matter experts for a variety of potential roles, such as presenting data at SITC meetings, conducting article reviews for the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC), serving in organizer roles to plan future meetings and more.

Those interested in being considered for such future opportunities can submit their credentials via the SITC Volunteer Portal, a members-only benefit. If you have questions about the database, please contact Senior Administrative Manager Rosanne Stelpflug.

I, along with all the leadership of SITC, wholeheartedly support the efforts of the WIN. The WIN is a key part of our society’s commitment to developing future female leaders in science and medicine – some who will hopefully follow Dr. Butterfield’s footsteps and serve as SITC President in the future. I’m also sending a reminder that SITC member registration for the 34th Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (SITC 2019) opens soon – on March 26. Scheduled for Nov. 6–10 in National Harbor, Md., SITC 2019 will take our society to new heights and I look forward to seeing new and familiar faces this fall.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President