The Sentinel


Monday, October 21, 2019

JITC Letter from the Editor - October 2019

pedro-romero_1__1_.jpgDear JITC Readers,

I am pleased to share news of the launching of JITC’s very own Twitter handle (@JITCancer). Managed by JITC’s very own editors, this new platform will provide followers with access to JITC’s latest publications as well as cutting-edge news from throughout the fields of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. Furthermore, it will give authors, readers, and editors a place to connect more directly on a global level.

If you use Twitter, please take a moment to follow @JITCancer and explore its social content. The October edition of the JITC digest also contains several highlighted articles that may be of interest for you to share with your followers. In particular, these highlighted articles show how insight into the interplay between malignant cells and the immune system can unlock new therapeutic strategies and diagnostic tools.

Two papers reveal new insight into which patients may benefit from checkpoint inhibition. The first, “Closed system RT-qPCR as a potential companion diagnostic test for immunotherapy outcome in metastatic melanoma” by Swati Gupta et al., develops a profile based on mRNA expression signatures of four genes (CD274 (PD-L1), PDCDILG2 (PD-L2), CD8A, and IRF1) that correlates with clinical outcomes in melanoma patients treated with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. With further development, the approach they describe could offer a rapid-turnaround companion diagnostic, without standardization and threshold issues inherent in immunohistochemistry-based diagnostics.
The second article addresses the ongoing question of how T cell responses determine outcomes of checkpoint inhibition. Fehlings et al. shine some light on this issue by identifying a distinctive population of neoantigen-specific CD8+ effector-like T cells in PBMCs from patients with non-small cell lung cancer who responded to anti-PD-L1 treatment. Their findings are described in, “Late-differentiated effector neoantigen-specific CD8+ T cells are enriched in peripheral blood of non-small cell lung carcinoma patients responding to atezolizumab treatment.”

T cell engineering has emerged as an exciting new clinical frontier, with the marked success of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-based therapies. In, “A TIGIT-based chimeric co-stimulatory switch receptor improves T cell anti-tumor function,” Hoogi et al. deploy a novel T cell engineering strategy, generating a chimeric costimulatory switch receptor (CSR) that circumvents inhibitory signaling in the cancer milieu by fusing the extracellular ligand-binding domain of the co-inhibitory receptor TIGIT to the intracellular stimulatory domain of CD28. T cells co-transduced with both an antigen receptor and the CSR displayed enhanced cytokine production in vitro and prolonged survival in xenograft models of established melanoma.

The final paper highlighted in this month’s digest describes encouraging results from a phase 1 trial of a humanized anti-IL-8 monoclonal antibody in 15 patients with incurable metastatic or unresectable, locally advanced solid tumors. Bilusic et al. demonstrate that IL-8 blockade is safe and well-tolerated in, “Phase I trial of HuMax-IL8 (BMS-986253), an anti-IL-8 monoclonal antibody, in patients with metastatic or unresectable solid tumors.” What’s more, 11 out of 15 patients achieved stable disease, an encouraging result for ongoing studies investigating IL-8 blockade in combination with checkpoint inhibition.

With best regards,

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

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

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