Novel Targets Podcast

Bringing to Life the Science around Innovative New Drugs, Gene and Cell Therapies

In this episode we’re continuing our look at the innate immune system by considering the potential of Natural Killer or NK cells for cancer immunotherapy:

Why do NK cells matter, what do they see, and how can then be targeted?

Just like with T cells, it turns out there are a number of different therapeutic approaches that can be used for NK cells, ranging from allogeneic cell therapies and CAR NK cells to BiKEs, TriKEs, as well as monoclonal antibodies and small molecules that target NK checkpoints.

We’ve covered quite a lot on the science, biology and even various therapeutics relating to the adaptive immune system, which involves lymphocytes such as T cells and B cells, but what about the innate immune system?

Historical Background

In 1891 a surgeon named William Cooley wrote the first case report of what happens when you inject people who have inoperable cancer with bacterial toxins (history buffs who want to read more should click the following open access link to download one of his historical papers).

In this latest episode, we tackle the family of protein molecules called cytokines that can have a yin and yang effect on the tumour microenvironment in many solid tumours.

Computer Graphic of TGFβ   Credit: Dr Michael Sporn, NCI

What are they and can we manipulate them and modulate their signal so as to tip things in a more positive direction in people with cancer?

Examples of cytokines include the interleukin (IL) family, interferon gamma (IFN𝛄), and transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ).

Welcome back to Season 4! This episode of Novel Targets was recorded at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Chicago. This time around, we’re talking about cancer immunotherapy clinical practice, pitfalls in trial design/interpretation, emerging biomarkers, and possibilities for future cures in some patients.

Professor Tom Powles

Tom Powles (Barts Cancer Centre) is a regular on the podcast. He previously featured in Episode 7 , where he talked about some of his experience with the checkpoint inhibitor, atezolizumab, in bladder cancer.

In the final episode of Season 3 we journey to Atlanta, Georgia for the 2017 American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting to learn more about the latest developments in hematologic malignancies, including leukemias, lymphomas and multiple myeloma.

Contrary to popular perception, it isn’t always warm and sunny in the southern states – Brrrr!:

For this episode, we interviewed an eclectic line-up of experts, some of whom abandoned the rose tinted glasses to take a more honest and realistic approach to oncology R&D: