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Personalizing cancer immunotherapy: From biomarker discovery to clinical diagnostics

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

Personalizing cancer immunotherapy: From biomarker discovery to clinical diagnostics

Recorded 21 February 2018


Biomarkers are the foundation upon which successful precision medicine treatments can be built. Personalized drug discovery and development aim to improve clinical outcomes by delivering the right treatment to the right patient. This is particularly true for immunotherapy, in which characterization of tumor heterogeneity is essential for choosing the most effective therapy. Optimized treatment requires biomarkers that are both specific and sensitive. However, very few biomarkers have been translated into clinical diagnostics for patient care. In this roundtable discussion, we will discuss how precision medicine has changed the way we approach cancer and its treatment, and also look at how researchers can better combine diagnostic development with therapeutic strategies to provide more effective treatments.

During the webinar, the panelists will discuss:

  • Current advances and trends in biomarker discovery
  • Challenges and opportunities in combining the latest diagnostic techniques with current therapeutic regimens
  • Future directions for biomarker discovery and application in precision medicine.

Viewers can ask questions live during the broadcast!

This webinar will last approximately 60 minutes.


Speaker bios

Hadassah Sade, Ph.D.

Definiens AG
Munich, Germany

Dr. Sade started her scientific career as a research fellow at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India, where she investigated regulation of the survival and death of T cells. After receiving her Ph.D. in immunology from the Open University, United Kingdom, where she researched the identification of transcriptional factors regulating the unique phenotype of the human blood–brain barrier, she joined the Roche Brain Shuttle program as a postdoctoral fellow. Due to the increasing interest in digital health care systems, she moved to Roche’s oncology department, where her activities included formulating and implementing validated assays, coupled with digital solutions and key contributions to the Discovery Biomarker portfolio and to the development of software tools for data mining purposes. Dr. Sade joined Definiens in 2017 as the head of Translational Science, where she leads the bioinformatics and biostatistics teams and works in close collaboration with pathologists and automated image and data analysis services for histopathological images. Their goal is to generate hypotheses and enable their testing and validation, in order to reveal novel mechanistic insights for predictive and/or therapeutic paradigms.

Priti Hegde, Ph.D.

San Francisco, CA

Dr. Hegde is a director and global franchise biomarker lead for cancer immunotherapy at Genentech/Roche. In addition to formulating diagnostic strategies for cancer immunotherapy agents, her team is focused on developing a deep understanding of tumor immune biology as well as mechanisms associated with immune response and immune escape in cancer patients, with the intent of generating rational strategies for the creation of combination therapies. Prior to joining Genentech in 2007, Dr. Hegde led genomics-based biomarker activities in oncology and cardiovascular diseases at GlaxoSmithKline. She received her postdoctoral training in colorectal cancer genomics at the Institute for Genomic Research (now part of the J. Craig Venter Institute) in 2000 and her graduate training in biochemical pharmacology from the State University of New York in Buffalo.

Miriam Merad, M.D., Ph.D.

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY

Dr. Merad is the Mount Sinai Chair professor in cancer immunology and the director of the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. She obtained her M.D. at the University of Algiers, Algeria, and her Ph.D. in immunology through a collaboration between Stanford University and the University of Paris VII. Her groundbreaking research has shown that tissue macrophages often arise from embryonic precursors, challenging the established dogma that macrophages originate from adult bone marrow–derived monocytes that are circulating in the blood. She showed that tissue macrophages have unique functional attributes that may have critical clinical implications, including a unique ability to resist genotoxic stress, which contributes to graft-versus-host disease and impacts tumor resistance to radiotherapy. Her pioneering work mapping the regulatory network of dendritic cells (DCs) identified a lineage of DCs that is now considered a key target to improve antiviral and antitumor immunity. Dr. Merad has authored more than 160 primary papers and reviews in high-profile journals. She is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and gives lectures around the world.

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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