We’ve heard about the promise of cancer immunotherapy and in particular checkpoint inhibitors, but not everyone responds. It’s typically around 25-30% in most cancers.

So how do we identify those patients that are likely to respond, and perhaps more importantly, how can we increase the percentage of patients that do respond?

Immune biomarkers are key to answering both those questions, and understanding the rationale for where we go beyond giving just one checkpoint inhibitor, i.e. monotherapy.

In Ep 2 you’ll hear interviews conducted at the recent American Association of Immunologists (AAI) annual meeting in New Orleans.

At AAI, Dr Lisa Butterfield (pictured above) chaired a guest symposium on immune biomarkers organized by the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). She talks about the difference between a predictive and prognostic biomarker and why this is important for cancer treatments. In 2018, Dr Butterfield left Pittsburgh to become Vice President of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Research Center in San Francisco.

You’ll hear from Dr Tom Gajewski (pictured below) about the important role the tumor microenvironment plays, and how STING agonists could potentially double or triple the number of people who respond to a PD1/PDL1 checkpoint inhibitor. Wow!

Dr Tom Gajewski

A transcript of the full interview with Dr Gajewski (the podcast is only an excerpt) has already been published on Biotech Strategy Blog, “Tom Gajewski takes the STING out of Cancer.”  Do check out a subscription if you’d like access.

Additional Resources:

STING-Dependent Cytosolic DNA Sensing Mediates Innate Immune Recognition of Immunogenic Tumors – Immunity. 2014 Nov 20; 41(5):830-842. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2014.10.017

Oncology meets immunology: the cancer-immunity cycle – Immunity. 2013 Jul 25;39(1):1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2013.07.012 (Open Access).

Podcast Music

The music in this podcast episode is by electric violinist and composer David Schulman from his album Quiet Life Motel.


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This podcast episode is sponsored by Genentech. We’re grateful for their support.


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