In our latest episode, we’re tackling the thorny issue of therapeutic cancer vaccines.  Nothwithstanding some recent clinical trial failures, there’s still considerable interest in this topic.

Are we on the threshold of a renaissance — a rebirth or awakening in the way we can stimulate the immune system to attract more cytolytic T cells into the tumour?  If not, what needs to be done for this to happen?  If so, what would the new approach(es) look like and how would they differ from what’s gone before?

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.

Checkpoint inhibitors do not work well in cancers where there is no underlying immune response. One example of such a non-inflamed tumor is prostate cancer.

So a key question is how do we convert a non-inflamed tumor (where few T Cells present) into an inflamed one (T cells are plentiful and active)? 

In this latest episode, using prostate cancer as an example, Dr James Gulley from the National Cancer Institute (pictured below at ASCO 2015) talks about how therapeutic cancer vaccines may achieve this effect.

Dr James Gulley NCI

Giving a cancer vaccine first could make checkpoint inhibitors more effective.