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Deciphering cancer: Modulating immunoregulatory pathways to treat tumors

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Deciphering cancer: Modulating immunoregulatory pathways to treat tumors

Recorded 19 January 2017


In addition to being the first line of defense against pathogenic attack, the immune system seeks out aberrant cells within the body that may become cancerous. In response, precancerous and cancerous cells may exploit immune checkpoint pathways to evade immune detection and destruction. In order to block these tumorigenic cells, novel therapeutics that modulate immune checkpoint signaling have been developed, with some already available and others in clinical trials. Further development of effective therapeutics for use in personalized medicine requires the identification and characterization of a diverse range of immune checkpoint biomarkers. This webinar will explore recent progress and future directions in translational and clinical efforts centered on checkpoint modulators and combination therapies matched to the molecular profile of individual tumors and the genetic background of patients.

During the webinar, the speakers will discuss:

  • The use of immune checkpoint blockades to treat malignancies and reverse T-cell exhaustion 
  • How to identify mechanistic biomarkers that could inform a combinatorial approach to therapy 
  • The ability of different therapy combinations to target the right immune cells. 

This webinar will last for appoximately 60 minutes.

You can also view Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 of this series.

Speaker bios

Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

Dr. Wolchok is the Lloyd J. Old/Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair in Clinical Investigation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK); chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service at MSK; and an attending physician at MSK with expertise in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. His additional appointments include: head of the Swim Across America/Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory; associate director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy; and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK. Dr. Wolchok has helped establish MSK as a leader in the discovery of novel immunotherapies to treat cancers. He was instrumental in the clinical development leading to the approval of ipilimumab for advanced melanoma, and recently designed and led a global phase 3 trial of combined checkpoint blockade for melanoma. Dr. Wolchok has been at the forefront of cancer immunotherapy, as an active clinician scientist exploring innovative immunotherapeutic strategies in laboratory models and as a principal investigator in numerous pivotal clinical trials. In 2011, he established the Immunotherapeutics Clinical Core, a specialized phase 1 outpatient unit at MSK that is focused on the conduct of novel immunotherapy trials, with a specific emphasis on pharmacodynamic biomarker identification. This group treats patients with a broad spectrum of malignancies and has become a model for similar efforts by other major cancer centers throughout the world. 

E. John Wherry, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Dr. E. John Wherry is the Barbara and Richard Schiffrin President’s distinguished professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, and director of the Penn Institute for Immunology. He received his Ph.D. at Thomas Jefferson University in 2000, completing his postdoctoral research at Emory University in 2004. In 2005, Dr. Wherry was appointed assistant professor in the immunology program at The Wistar Institute before joining the Perelman School of Medicine in 2010. His pioneering research has focused on defining the cellular and molecular nature of immune exhaustion—the failure of normal immune system function—in chronic infection and cancer. He has identified novel combinations of immune treatments that may provide future therapeutics for cancer and infections. Other work from his laboratory examines the epigenetics of immune cells, systems immunology approaches, vaccine responses, and respiratory infections. Dr. Wherry has received numerous honors for his consistent and significant contributions to infectious disease and cancer research. He has over 160 publications in top international journals and has been cited over 29,000 times.  

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently Dr. Sanders is the Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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