The Sentinel


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

JITC Letter From the Editor - September

Dear JITC Readers,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to this edition of the JITC digest. A new academic year is getting underway for many of our readers, and regardless of the “new normal” imposed by COVID-19, the journal continues to publish groundbreaking research from across the immunotherapy field.
The articles spotlighted in this month’s digest exemplify how the immunotherapy field excels at bringing a new perspective to processes or therapies that might be considered familiar—thus advancing our discipline in novel and important new directions.
John C. Flickinger Jr., and colleagues creatively overcome the obstacle inherent in many cancer vaccine approaches of pre-existing host immunity to the adenoviral backbone by engineering a new chimeric vector.
By taking a new look at a familiar cytokine, Tal Kan et al provide evidence that IL-31 may induce anti-tumor immunity in breast cancer.
New immune response biomarkers that could help identify patients with melanoma who may benefit from combination radiotherapy and CTLA-4 blockade are described by Celine Boutros and colleagues. Additionally, evidence for safety and efficacy with retreatment with anti-PD-L1 therapy after discontinuation for reasons other than toxicity or progression is provided by Siddharth Sheth et al.
Although the results were negative for a first-in-human trial for a first-in-class, orally administered, selective dual inhibitor of IDO1 and TDO2, reported by Aung Naing and colleagues, the findings could set the stage for future studies of rational combinations of therapies targeting tryptophan metabolism and other immunotherapy agents.
Finally, a first-of-its-kind study by Pedro Barata et al demonstrates the feasibility of using a commercially available cell-free DNA assay to identify patients with advanced prostate cancer and microsatellite instability-high tumors who may benefit from pembrolizumab.
To further your reading this month, be sure to browse JITC’s Reading List, with an intriguing selection of papers drawn from the viral immunology world, selected by Dr. Howard Kaufman.

Best regards,

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

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

President's Message - September 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Our society continues its preparations toward our fully virtual 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs (SITC 2020), scheduled for Nov. 9–14, 2020. Please take note that the SITC 2020 meeting registration fee has been waived for ALL SITC members. You can become a member or renew your membership during the SITC 2020 online registration process.

Also, to accommodate for the COVID-19 impact on cancer immunotherapy research this year, the late-breaking abstract (LBA) submission period will be opened to everyone. SITC will not require an LBA application to be submitted beforehand. Previously submitted LBA applications will automatically be invited to submit a full LBA during the LBA submission period, Sept. 8-22, 2020, at 5 p.m. PDT.

In addition to the intense preparations for the Annual Meeting, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer continues to make progress on its objectives for this year. Educating clinicians on all aspects of cancer immunotherapy is one of our main objectives and directly serves the goal of improving patient outcomes. This past month the Certificate in Cancer Immunotherapy Program was launched, and is being offered online via our society’s SITC Cancer Immunotherapy connectED platform. The SITC certificate consists of eight learning modules all of which offer relevant education credits (CME, CNE, CPE and MOC).  After successful completion of the modules, the SITC Graduate in Cancer Immunotherapy (SITC-G) designation is granted and identifies a healthcare provider who has completed specialized training in cancer immunotherapy.

The first of eight modules, presented by Robert Ferris, MD, PhD (Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hillman Cancer Center, long-time SITC member and past At-Large Director), is now online. It covers basic concepts of immunology, including innate and adaptive immune responses. The other seven module topics, which will be launched in the weeks ahead, include:

·         Basic Cancer Immunotherapy Concepts
·         Immune Checkpoint Blockade
·         Managing Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Adverse Events
·         Other Approaches, including Cytokines, Vaccines, Immune Cell Engagers
·         Oncolytic Viruses and Intralesional Therapy
·         CAR T Cell and Cellular Therapy
·         Implementing Cancer Immunotherapy in Clinical Practice

SITC executive leadership, faculty and staff have put many months of effort in the planning and continued execution of this exciting new SITC program. I would like to thank all of those involved in the Certificate in Cancer Immunotherapy program, including Executive Director Tara Withington, CAE, and Past President Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, both of whom championed this effort and the need for such a program for multiple years.

To learn more about eligibility requirements to earn your Certificate in Cancer Immunotherapy, please click here. SITC members receive a 20 percent discount on all Certificate in Cancer Immunotherapy modules, so if you haven’t yet, please be sure to join the SITC family to take advantage of this exclusive member benefit.

Mario Sznol, MD
SITC President