Ilustration: Niklas Elmehed. Copyright © Nobel Media AB 2018

The award of this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine to Dr Jim Allison and Dr Tasuku Honjo is a defining moment for cancer research that we want to recognize.

You’ll hear from Dr Allison on the very day he heard the announcement, as well as take a closer look at what it takes to be a great scientist and the limitations on how many people the Nobel Prize can recognize in a given year.

If you want to increase your chance of winning, 1993 laureate Sir Richard Roberts FRS takes us through his “Ten Simple Rules to Win a Nobel Prize.”

In this episode we cover several important and related topics, including: the importance of pre-existing Immunity and novel ways to activate the immune system through Cancer Vaccines, Cytokines, Immune Agonists & T cell bispecifics.

The majority of these interviews were recorded at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting held in Chicago in June 2017, while others were recorded in Paris or at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting in National Harbor, MD.

Pre-Existing Immunity

Dr Jérôme Galon

Dr Jérôme Galon

Dr Jérôme Galon (INSERM) is a leading immunologist who works for the French NIH and is co-founder of a diagnostic company, HalioDx.

A pioneer is someone who helps develop something new and prepares the way for others to follow.

We want to harness our immune system to fight and cure cancer. In this episode you’ll hear from two (of the many) pioneers in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Dr Stephan Grupp CHOP

Dr Stephan Grupp (pictured above) from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is leading the way in developing CAR T cell therapy for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Dr Grupp is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania.

This episode features excerpts from an interview with Dr Holbrook Kohrt who was leading the way in researching the potential of immune agonists targeting 4-1BB (CD137). It is with great sadness that we must report that since this episode aired, Holbrook Kohrt is no longer with us. He died, aged 38, on February 24, 2016.

Dr Holbrook Kohrt Stanford

In-Memorium Holbrook Kohrt 

This episode features interviews with two Titans in the field of adoptive cell therapy: Dr Carl June from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and Dr Steven Rosenberg from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Adoptive cellular therapy is where you take T lymphocytes – T cells, “the immune warriors in the body” as you’ll Dr Rosenberg describe them, out of a patient, manipulate them in some way in the laboratory, then expand them in terms of numbers and give them back to the patient.

Dr Carl June UPenn

Dr Carl June talks about one way of manipulating a T lymphocyte through the insertion of a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) to create a CAR modified T cell.