The Sentinel


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

JITC Letter From the Editor -October 2020

Dear JITC Readers,

Welcome to the latest edition of the JITC digest. For many of our readers, especially in the United States, October is associated with Halloween—the seasonal mood hearkens back to the earliest days of immunotherapy, when many considered the concept of immunological control of tumors to be the stuff of “witchcraft.”

Now, of course, thanks to tireless efforts by clinicians and researchers as well as participation by patients in clinical trials, our understanding of tumor immunology has advanced by leaps and bounds. Concepts once thought to be spooky and mysterious such as immune checkpoints are now generally accepted as common knowledge. Every advance, however, also brings new areas of inquiry, and JITC will continue to publish the leading research in our field. The JITC’s corrected Impact Factor just released by Clarivate Analytics of 10.252 attests to the growing influence of the journal in a field that has taken center stage in oncology and immunology.

We also look forward to SITC’s annual meeting and pre-conference program, this year reimagined as an entirely virtual experience. The virtual meeting will be a one of a kind opportunity to hear from luminaries in our field as well as view presentations on the latest research. Find out more about registration here.

The original research articles featured in this month’s digest highlight several exciting emerging areas in immunotherapy. Elham Beyranvand Nejad and colleagues add a new angle into the important topic of mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance, with an in-depth characterization of the importance of the myeloid cellular component in the tumor microenvironment for preventing recurrence.

Efficient targeting of regulatory T cells in the tumor microenvironment has had limited success to date, but Francesca Zammarchi et al provide promising pre-clinical evidence that a CD25-directed antibody-drug conjugate may efficiently deplete immunosuppressive cells and strongly synergize with checkpoint inhibitors, allowing for robust disease control.

In an outside-of-the-box approach to improve yields for chimeric antigen receptor T cell manufacturing, Andrea Schmidts and colleagues developed artificial antigen presenting cells that improve over conventional bead-based reagents for T cell activation in several aspects. Of note, Schmidts et al modified the artificial antigen-presenting cells to disrupt expression of the lentiviral binding receptor and avoid “vector sink” during transduction using CRISPR-Cas9—the technology honored with the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Immunotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting is an important and ongoing area of research. Although the trial of nivolumab and ipilimumab prior to surgery for resectable non-small cell lung cancer reported by Joshua E Reuss and colleagues was prematurely terminated due to toxicity, the findings underscore the importance of future research, especially on biomarkers to predict response to treatment.

Finally, in addition to the excellent original research in this month’s digest, it’s a pleasure to spotlight a review from the recently completed series on immune checkpoints beyond PD-1. If you have not read these outstanding reviews, be sure to browse the entire collection, in addition to the overview of TIGIT in immunotherapy highlighted in this month’s digest.
Warm regards,

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

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

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