Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Cancer immunotherapy


Despite impressive clinical success, cancer immunotherapy based on immune checkpoint blockade remains ineffective in many patients due to tumoral resistance. Here we use the autochthonous TiRP melanoma model, which recapitulates the tumoral resistance signature observed in human melanomas. TiRP tumors resist immunotherapy based on checkpoint blockade, cancer vaccines or adoptive T-cell therapy. TiRP tumors recruit and activate tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells, but these cells then undergo apoptosis. This does not occur with isogenic transplanted tumors, which are rejected after adoptive T-cell therapy. Apoptosis of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes can be prevented by interrupting the Fas/Fas-ligand axis, and is triggered by polymorphonuclear-myeloid-derived suppressor cells, which express high levels of Fas-ligand and are enriched in TiRP tumors. Blocking Fas-ligand increases the anti-tumor efficacy of adoptive T-cell therapy in TiRP tumors, and increases the efficacy of checkpoint blockade in transplanted tumors. Therefore, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes apoptosis is a relevant mechanism of immunotherapy resistance, which could be blocked by interfering with the Fas/Fas-ligand pathway.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Oncology, Tumor, Interferon, Melanoma, Cancer immunotherapy


Immunotherapies include various approaches, ranging from stimulating effector mechanisms to counteracting inhibitory and suppressive mechanisms, and creating a forum for discussing the most effective means of advancing these therapies through imaging is the focus of the newly formed Imaging in Cellular and Immune Therapies (ICIT) interest group within the World Molecular Imaging Society. Efforts are being made in the identification and validation of predictive biomarkers for a number of immunotherapies. Without predictive biomarkers, a considerable number of patients may receive treatments that have no chance of offering a benefit. This will reflect poorly on the field of immunotherapy and will yield false hopes in patients while at the same time contributing to significant cost to the healthcare system. This review summarizes the main strategies in cancer immune and cell-based therapies and discusses recent advances in imaging strategies aimed to improve cancer immunotherapy outcomes.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Focus, Imaging, Immunotherapy, Cancer immunotherapy, Molecular imaging


Delivery of PLGA (poly [D, L-lactide-co-glycolide])-based biodegradable nanoparticles (NPs) to antigen presenting cells, particularly dendritic cells, has potential for cancer immunotherapy.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Protein, Dendritic cell, Antigen-presenting cell, Cancer treatments, Cancer immunotherapy


The purpose of present approach is to target C-Type lectin (CTL) receptors for preferential uptake by the macrophages/dendritic cells and improving the cross-presentation of ovalbumin.

Concepts: Immune system, Immunotherapy, Cancer immunotherapy


This report is a summary of ‘New Cancer Immunotherapy Agents in Development’ program, which took place in association with the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), on November 9, 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland. Presenters gave brief overviews of emerging clinical and pre-clinical immune-based agents and combinations, before participating in an extended panel discussion with multidisciplinary leaders, including members of the FDA, leading academic institutions and industrial drug developers, to consider topics relevant to the future of cancer immunotherapy.

Concepts: Future, Sociology, Management, Society, Cancer immunotherapy


Despite recent advances in melanoma treatment through the use of anti-PD-1 (aPD1) immunotherapy, the efficacy of this method remains to be improved. Here we report an innovative self-degradable microneedle (MN) patch for the sustained delivery of aPD1 in a physiologically controllable manner. The microneedle is composed of biocompatible hyaluronic acid integrated with pH-sensitive dextran nanoparticles (NPs) that encapsulate aPD1 and glucose oxidase (GOx), which converts blood glucose to gluconic acid. The generation of acidic environment promotes the self-dissociation of NPs and subsequently results in the substantial release of aPD1. We find that a single administration of the MN patch induces robust immune responses in a B16F10 mouse melanoma model compared to MN without degradation trigger or intratumoral injection of free aPD1 with the same dose. Moreover, this administration strategy can integrate with other immunomodulators (such as anti-CTLA-4) to achieve combination therapy for enhancing anti-tumor efficacy.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Protein, Immunology, Carbohydrate, Glucose meter, Cancer immunotherapy, Gluconic acid


Among three patients with melanoma receiving anti-PD-1 antibodies, the use of checkpoint blockers led to the development of serious autoimmune pneumonitis, a potentially lethal complication.

Concepts: Immune system, Immunology, Cancer immunotherapy


T-cell-based immunotherapies are promising treatments for cancer patients. Although durable responses can be achieved in some patients, many patients fail to respond to these therapies, underscoring the need for improvement with combination therapies. From a screen of 850 bioactive compounds, we identify HSP90 inhibitors as candidates for combination with immunotherapy. We show that inhibition of HSP90 with ganetespib enhances T-cell-mediated killing of patient-derived human melanoma cells by their autologous T cells in vitro and potentiates responses to anti-CTLA4 and anti-PD1 therapy in vivo. Mechanistic studies reveal that HSP90 inhibition results in upregulation of interferon response genes, which are essential for the enhanced killing of ganetespib treated melanoma cells by T cells. Taken together, these findings provide evidence that HSP90 inhibition can potentiate T-cell-mediated anti-tumor immune responses, and rationale to explore the combination of immunotherapy and HSP90 inhibitors.Many patients fail to respond to T cell based immunotherapies. Here, the authors, through a high-throughput screening, identify HSP90 inhibitors as a class of preferred drugs for treatment combination with immunotherapy.

Concepts: Immune system, Organism, In vivo, Interferon, Melanoma, In vitro, Immunotherapy, Cancer immunotherapy


Despite remarkable responses to cancer immunotherapy in a subset of patients, many patients remain resistant to these therapies. The tumor microenvironment can impose metabolic restrictions on T cell function, creating a resistance mechanism to immunotherapy. We have previously shown tumor-infiltrating T cells succumb to progressive loss of metabolic sufficiency, characterized by repression of mitochondrial activity that cannot be rescued by PD-1 blockade. 4-1BB, a costimulatory molecule highly expressed on exhausted T cells, has been shown to influence metabolic function. We hypothesized that 4-1BB signaling might provide metabolic support to tumor-infiltrating T cells. 4-1BB costimulation of CD8+T cells results in enhanced mitochondrial capacity (suggestive of fusion) and engages PGC1α-mediated pathways via activation of p38-MAPK. 4-1BB treatment of mice improves metabolic sufficiency in endogenous and adoptive therapeutic CD8+T cells. 4-1BB stimulation combined with PD-1 blockade results in robust antitumor immunity. Sequenced studies revealed the metabolic support afforded by 4-1BB agonism need not be continuous and that a short course of anti-4-1BB pretreatment was sufficient to provide a synergistic response. Our studies highlight metabolic reprogramming as the dominant effect of 4-1BB therapy and suggest that combinatorial strategies using 4-1BB agonism may help overcome the immunosuppressive metabolic landscape of the tumor microenvironment.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Cancer, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Mitochondrion, Immunotherapy, Cancer immunotherapy


Cancer immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) is associated with frequent immune-related adverse events (irAEs) and is often not recommended for patients with concomitant autoimmune disease.

Concepts: Immune system, Immunology, Cancer immunotherapy