The Sentinel


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

JITC Letter from the Editor - June 2020

Dear JITC Readers,

Welcome to the latest edition of the JITC digest. As we move into the first months of the summer, cancer research programs are cautiously beginning to re-open in cities around the world while at the same time the streets are full of thousands of people protesting against racial injustice. In these tumultuous times, JITC is proud to add to the voices of all those across the globe in strong support of justice and equality, and against racism of any kind. 

We hope that all our JITC readers are staying safe as shelter in place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic slowly lift and we reaffirm our commitment to publishing the best of immunotherapy research through these tumultuous and uncharted times. 

In this issue we are excited to share an excellent review, two perspectives from SITC and four original research articles, two of which describe important new biomarker approaches for predicting and monitoring therapeutic response and two of which develop strategies to enhance anti-tumor immunity. 

John P Lynes and colleagues provide a timely update on strategies for the identification of predictive immunotherapy biomarkers in the highly heterogeneous central nervous system malignancy glioblastoma along with an overview of challenges for the field in central nervous system disease in, "Biomarkers for immunotherapy for treatment of glioblastoma."

In, "Endogenous TLR2 ligand embedded in the catalytic region of human cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase 1," Seongmin Cho et al. identify a unique TLR agonist embedded within the catalytic region of a human tRNA synthetase enzyme that significantly improved survival when administered with checkpoint inhibitors in mouse models without causing significant systemic toxicity. 

Victor H Engelhard and colleagues developed, performed pre-clinical characterization and evaluated safety and immunogenicity of a novel immunotherapeutic vaccine comprising HLA-restricted phosphorylated peptides in, "MHC-restricted phosphopeptide antigens: preclinical validation and first-in-humans clinical trial in participants with high-risk melanoma." 

On the biomarkers side, Thomas LaSalle and colleagues used a novel PET agent that non-invasively quantifies granzyme B release to measure immune cell activation in tumors during checkpoint inhibitor therapies. Additionally, in an impressive pan-tumor analysis, Jessica Roelands et al. demonstrate that cancer-specific oncogenic gene expression programs may modulate the predictive power of favorable intratumoral immune responses. Don't miss the papers, "Granzyme B PET imaging of immune-mediated tumor killing as a tool for understanding immunotherapy response" and "Oncogenic states dictate the prognostic and predictive connotations of intratumoral immune response." 

JITC also is proud to publish two outstanding papers from SITC, "The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer perspective on regulation of interleukin-6 signaling in COVID-19-related systemic inflammatory response" by Fernanda I Arnaldez et al. and "The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer statement on best practices for multiplex immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence (IF) staining and validation" by Janis M Taube and colleagues. The former provides an overview of immune-modulatory therapies that may be of use for COVID-19 and the latter helps set standards to ensure outputs are robust and comparable across laboratories and platforms. 

Finally, it is with a heavy heart that I share the passing of our colleague Beatrix Kotlan. Among her many amazing contributions to the immunotherapy field, Beatrix was a founding Associate Editor who served six years on the JITC editorial board. She was also a dedicated, enthusiastic reviewer and a tireless advocate for lower-income countries to have access to the tools and knowledge necessary to advance the field. Our thoughts are with her family.

Best regards,

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

To view the entire June 2020 JITC Digest, please click here

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