Thursday March 21, 18:30 – 21:30. To include dinner
SC4: T Cell Therapies: Current Field, Challenges and Future Directions

Instructors:

Fiona Thistlethwaite, Consultant, Medical Oncology, Experimental Cancer Medicine, and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Cancer Sciences, Biology Medicine & Health, University of Manchester

Reno Debets, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Tumor Immunology, Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute

Short Course Description:

The field of Adoptive T cell (ACT) therapy is advancing rapidly and the EMA approval of products expressing CD19-specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) to treat B cell malignancies  marks the start of a new era. However, significant challenges remain and need to be addressed if momentum is to be maintained and these exciting new products are to become embedded within clinical practice. Challenges include the safety assessment of target antigen and corresponding CARs or T cell receptors (TCRs), optimisation of T cell fitness, and the search for combinatorial approaches to enable T cells to target solid tumors. In addition to the preclinical trajectory, it is important to roll out these therapies in the clinical setting, which includes steps such as the manufacture and testing of clinical grade vector, development of efficient and reliable manufacturing methods, and delivering the therapies to patients safely, effectively and at a cost that is considered reasonable. This workshop will explore these important issues as we look to transition ACT from the laboratory into mainstream medicine.

Points that are considered

  • Selecting safe antigens and receptors for ACT
  • Strategies to enhance therapeutic efficacy; and clinical trial design to incorporate combining ACT with standard treatments or other immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors and vaccines
  • Establishing best practice for delivery of ACT in a hospital setting; including monitoring and managing toxicities from ACT
  • Challenges of scale-up as we move beyond single site investigator led-clinical trials
  • Establishing links between the pharmaceutical industry and clinical centres to deliver ACT
  • Humanized mouse models: In-house generation or outsourcing?

Meet the Instructors:

Fiona Thistlethwaite, Consultant, Medical Oncology, Experimental Cancer Medicine, and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Cancer Sciences, Biology Medicine & Health, University of Manchester

Dr Fiona Thistlethwaite is a Medical Oncology Consultant within the ECMT (Experimental Cancer Medicines Team) at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester. She graduated from The University of Cambridge MB PhD programme in 1999. Her PhD, under the supervision of Professor Sir Martin Evans, explored the molecular mechanisms that lead to cancer in inherited breast cancer syndromes. Following posts at Liverpool Royal, The Royal Marsden and The Christie she became a consultant at The Christie in 2007 and joined the ECMT in 2016. Fiona has been actively involved in clinical trial development for many years with a research focus on early phase clinical trials in immune-oncology, particularly adoptive cell therapies, combination immunotherapies and immune biomarkers. She is the Programme Director for the iMATCH (Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub) consortium which was recently awarded almost £7M to establish one of three National Centres for Advanced Therapies in the UK. She is a member of the ESMO Congress Scientific Committee (Immunotherapy Track) and has been an invited speaker at both ESMO Congress and ESMO preceptorships in recent years.

Reno Debets, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Tumor Immunology, Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute

Reno Debets received his MSc degree (1991, cum laude) in Biological Sciences at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, and has received his PhD degree (1996, cum laude) in the field of inflammation at the Dept of Immunology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow for 3 years at DNAX Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA (currently part of Merck laboratories), where he contributed to the discovery and functional characterization of novel cytokines.

Reno Debets heads the laboratory of Tumor Immunology, Department of Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC-Cancer Institute (since 2000). He is a certified Immunologist (since 2005) and an Associate professor (since 2010). Reno Debets’ laboratory takes part in international consortia and consists of 15 people, including PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Research of his laboratory is involved in 3 activities towards new or ongoing patient studies:

  • Developing and testing of T cell receptor-engineered T cells
  • Understanding and intervention with cross-talk between tumor cells and micro-milieu
  • Monitoring of T cell phenotype and function

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