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Monitoring immune responses in cancer therapies: Avoiding the cytokine storm and other negative outcomes

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

Monitoring immune responses in cancer therapies: Avoiding the cytokine storm and other negative outcomes

Recorded 16 January 2018


Immunotherapy is rapidly becoming the go-to treatment for a growing number of cancers. Despite this, the technology is not without its challenges. Considerable success has been achieved in engineering immune cells to evade the suppressive effects of cancer and kill malignant cells. However, researchers are still learning how best to implement immunotherapy regimens, making monitoring of the immune response during treatment development and implementation critical to predicting how the modified cells will function, and how the immune system as a whole will react. Will the engineered cells have the desired effect? And will these cells stimulate unwanted reactions, such as cytokine-release syndrome or a “cytokine storm”? Understanding when, where, and why cytokines are released will allow safer, more effective therapies to be developed. This webinar will offer insights from leaders in the field about the importance of monitoring the immune response and how this can best be done.

During the webinar, viewers will:

  • Learn about the most recent advances in immunotherapy and the impact of these treatments on the immune system
  • Gain insight into methods for monitoring immune response following immunotherapy treatment
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions during the broadcast!

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

Speaker bios

Gordon J. Freeman, Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Dr. Freeman works in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He earned his B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology and his Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Harvard University. His research has identified the major pathways that control the immune response by inhibiting T-cell activation (PD-1/PD-L1 and B7-2/CTLA-4) or stimulating T-cell activation (B7-2/CD28). In 2000, Dr. Freeman discovered the PD-L1 and PD-L2 proteins and showed they were ligands for PD-1, thus defining the PD-1 pathway and the drug target: to block the PD-1–ligand interaction. He showed that the function of PD-1 was to inhibit immune responses and that blockade enhanced immune responses. He further showed that PD-L1 is highly expressed on many solid tumors such as breast and lung, as well as some hematologic malignancies, and allows these tumors to resist immune attack. He received the 2014 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology and the 2017 Warren Alpert Foundation award for this work, which led to development of the PD-1 pathway blockade for cancer immunotherapy.

Michel Sadelain, M.D., Ph.D.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

Dr. Sadelain is director of the Center for Cell Engineering and the incumbent of the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is a member of the center’s Immunology Program and the departments of Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Sadelain’s research focuses on human cell engineering and cell therapy to treat cancer and hereditary blood disorders. His laboratory has made several seminal contributions to the field of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), from their conceptualization and optimization to their clinical translation for cancer immunotherapy. His group was the first to publish findings of dramatic molecular remissions in patients with chemorefractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia following treatment with autologous CD19-targeted T cells. Dr. Sadelain is the recipient of the Cancer Research Institute’s William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, the Sultan Bin Khalifa International Award for Innovative Medical Research on Thalassemia, and the New York Intellectual Property Law Association Inventor of the Year Award. He previously served on the National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee and as president of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.

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 Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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