The Sentinel


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

JITC Letter from the Editor - June 2019

pedro-romero_1__1_.jpgDear JITC Readers,

In the June edition of the JITC Digest, I would like to draw special attention to the following articles. First, “Carboplatin/paclitaxel, E7-vaccination and intravaginal CpG as tri-therapy towards efficient regression of genital HPV16 tumors” by Sonia Domingos-Pereira et al. investigates the effects of systemic administration of a chemotherapy doublet in combination with HPV16-E7 synthetic long peptide (E7LP) vaccination, followed by intravaginal immunostimulation in the genital orthotopic TC-1 mouse model. Results from this study suggest that combining novel vaccine formulations with local immunostimulation and standard-of-care chemotherapy have the potential to benefit patients with HPV-associated cancer.

Next, the research article “Selectively hampered activation of lymph node-resident dendritic cells precedes profound T cell suppression and metastatic spread in the breast cancer sentinel lymph node,” by Kim M. van Pul et al. describes the immune status of breast draining lymph nodes (LN) in a quantitative and functional manner using multi-parameter flow cytometry and ex-vivo cultures, and compares it with that of breast-draining axillary LN from healthy donors. This study provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying loco-regional immune suppression in breast cancer and how this relates to clinical parameters and suggests that LN-resident-conventional dendritic cells are potential therapeutic targets.

Furthermore, the article, “Anti-pancreatic tumor efficacy of a Listeria-based, Annexin A2-targeting immunotherapy in combination with anti-PD-1 antibodies,” by Victoria M. Kim et al. shows for the first time, that a Listeria vaccine-based immunotherapy was able to induce a tumor antigen-specific T cell response within the tumor microenvironment of a “cold” tumor such as PDAC and further sensitizes the tumor to checkpoint inhibitor therapy. This combination immunotherapy led to objective tumor responses and survival benefit in mice with spontaneously developed PDAC tumors, supporting Lm-ANXA2 as a therapeutic agent in combination with anti-PD-1 antibody for PDAC treatment.

“Neurologic toxicity associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors: a pharmacovigilance study,” by Douglas B. Johnson et al. leverages Vigibase, the World Health Organization pharmacovigilance database, to further define neurologic toxicities in the largest characterization of neurologic immune-related adverse events (irAEs) associated with ICIs. Results of this analysis pinpointed several categories of neurologic toxicities strongly associated with CNS inflammation or peripheral neuromuscular autoimmune disorders of which clinicians should be aware of in administering checkpoint blockade.

Finally, Hyun Gul Yang et al.’s article, “Discovery of a novel natural killer cell line with distinct immunostimulatory and proliferative potential as an alternative platform for cancer immunotherapy,” presents a novel NK cell line, NK101, from a patient with extra-nodal NK/T cell lymphoma and an assessment of its phenotypic, genomic and functional characteristics, with results suggestive of its therapeutic application as a CAR T-alternative anti-cancer cellular platform with improved efficacy and superior scalability.

With best regards,

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

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

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

President's Message - June 2019

Dear Colleagues,

For 35 years, a primary purpose of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) – through its growth and multiple iterations – has been to bring together top scientists and clinicians in our field. SITC has served as the catalyst for these professionals to convene and share their latest research achievements, and through interaction and collaboration, to spur future advances and breakthroughs in the field.

Our organization was originally founded in 1984 by 40 charter members as the Society for Biological Therapy (SBT). In the past 35 years, much has changed, both in immuno-oncology and our society, including our name. SITC has grown with the field – eclipsing 2,400 members in 2018 – and remains at the forefront of scientific and clinical advances in cancer immunotherapy.

Beginning tomorrow, June 1, SITC will join our colleagues at the Cancer Research Institute to celebrate Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month™. During this month, we will bring attention to the many ways our society, through the contributions and dedication of its members, seeks to educate health care professionals and patients, and to enable research that will yield our field’s next breakthroughs. On our website and various social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook, SITC will feature a different program, resource or SITC initiative each day of the month. These activities are designed to create awareness of cancer immunotherapy and the depth and breadth of our society’s contributions to the field.

Also, on Friday, June 14, please join me in wearing white to honor and celebrate the work of the many researchers and clinicians in our field. Please consider purchasing a SITC Cure T-shirt, through a donation to the SITC Forward Fund, to wear on June 14, and then download our “Why I Wear White” flyer to share what drives your commitment to the cancer immunotherapy field. For me, every patient in my clinic who is alive today only because he or she received interleukin-2, or anti-PD-1 and or anti-CTLA-4, and every patient I see for whom these therapies were not enough to provide benefit, is another reminder of why I am committed to advancing these therapies in the clinic, and why I wear white on June 14. Take a selfie or group photo and tag SITC on social media to help us spread the word about cancer immunotherapy research.

As a final reminder, for those of you who will be in Chicago this weekend, please consider joining SITC at Buddy Guy’s Legends (700 S. Wabash Ave.) on Sunday, June 2, for the return to the stage of The CheckPoints, SITC’s house band. Doors open at 8 p.m. for The CheckPoints: Rockin' for a Cure, SITC’s annual fundraiser for the Forward Fund.


Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President