The Sentinel


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

JITC Letter From the Editor- November 2020

Dear JITC Readers,

I hope you enjoy this latest edition of the JITC digest. You are receiving this email after the conclusion of SITC’s 35th anniversary Annual Meeting and Pre-Conference Programs, this year re-imagined as an entirely virtual experience. Although we sorely missed the opportunity to interact with our colleagues in person, the virtual platform was an amazing opportunity for participants from around the world to experience the latest and greatest in immunotherapy research. Hopefully, you had an opportunity to stop by the virtual JITC booth during the meeting!

Included within the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of the annual JITC best paper awards. This year, the manuscripts honored were, “CRISPR-Cas9 disruption of PD-1 enhances activity of universal EGFRvIII CAR T cells in a preclinical model of human glioblastoma” and “Mechanisms regulating PD-L1 expression on tumor and immune cells.” Of course, the award selection was a difficult decision this year, as JITC is blessed with an abundance of excellent papers, which is truly a “problem” that the journal is lucky to have as we continue to grow and expand.

Among the many important manuscripts published this month is “The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) clinical practice guideline on immunotherapy for the treatment of acute leukemia,” which is sure to be a valuable resource for the hematology-oncology community.

The rest of the papers in this month’s JITC digest touch on some hot topic areas in immunotherapy—myeloid cells, metabolism and novel targets, among others—inching the field forward to the overall goal of identifying and expanding the population of patients who may benefit, while revealing new insights into the mechanisms of actions of some familiar agents.

Hongfei Wang et al look beyond the traditional T cell-centered view for immuno-oncology and developed a novel myeloid-targeting agent that showed robust synergy with radiation in mouse models.

Blood-based biomarkers for response to checkpoint blockade have long been elusive, but Alissa Keegan and colleagues make use of ultrasensitive single-molecule array technology to identify a familiar cytokine—IL-6—as a potential factor with predictive value for survival benefit after PD-1 blockade.

New nuance in the T cell physiology associated with checkpoint blockade efficacy is provided by Hannah S Newton et al, who perform elegant electrophysiology experiments to identify distinct differences in voltage-gated ion channel activity, calcium flux and chemotaxis in blood- and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes among patients with pembrolizumab-responsive and non-responsive head and neck cancers.

Potential utility for PI3Kdelta inhibition beyond hematologic malignancies and in solid tumors is demonstrated by Sarah Nicol Lauder and colleagues—intriguingly, they show that combination with anti-LAG3 therapy leads to even more pronounced effects, highlighting the promise of combinatorial approaches for novel immunotherapy targets.

Finally, do not miss an exceptional review by Maria Zagorulya, Ellen Duong and Stefani Spranger, discussing the implications of tissue-specific variability in myeloid cells on the efficacy of checkpoint blockade therapy. 

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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