Session Abstract

Session Synopsis: Cancer Immunotherapy and Checkpoint Inhibitor technology are some of the most exciting new developments in the treatment of Cancer. Immunotherapy faces several challenges before they become more widely adopted, however, not least of which is the large difference in response rate between patients. This session will discuss the power and potential of using a patient’s own immune response to combat cancer, and the barriers to establish this form of treatment as a standard of care.

Session Chair Profile

M.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, Duke University Medical Center

Dr. Gromeier has re-engineered poliovirus for safe use as a cancer immunotherapy vehicle. The re-engineered virus, called PVSRIPO, cannot replicate in the normal brain, but can effectively target and destroy virtually all (solid tumor) neoplastic cells, due to ectopic expression of the poliovirus receptor CD155 on such cells. Tumor cell killing is not the principal means of efficacy, but sets up a range of pro-inflammatory and immunogenic events that can engender lasting anti-tumor immune effector responses. Phase I trials in recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) have produced durable complete clinical and radiographic responses in some patients.


Cancer Immunotherapy with Oncolytic Poliovirus
Oncolytic poliovirus immunotherapy is showing promise in patients with recurrent glioblastoma, a particularly challenging indication in oncology, that is resistant to all available modalities. Dr. Gromeier will discuss mechanisms of viral oncolytic immunotherapy and outline a path towards effective clinical application.

Speaker Profile

M.D., Ph.D., FRCP, FMedSci, Senior Vice President, Immuno-Oncology, Early Development and Translational Oncology, Pfizer Inc.

Chris Boshoff, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP, FMedSci, is the Head and Senior Vice President for Immuno-Oncology, Early Development and Translational Oncology at Pfizer where he directs the strategies for early cancer drug development, precision medicine and immuno-oncology. Dr. Boshoff obtained his PhD from the Institute of Cancer Research in London and trained as a medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden and Royal Free Hospitals in London. Before joining Pfizer in 2013, he was the Director of the University College London (UCL) Cancer Institute (2007-2013). He was appointed Adjunct Professor at Yale University in 2014, and has published more than 150 original articles covering cancer biology, tumor virology, and experimental cancer medicine.


Cancer Immunotherapy: Science Driving Combinatorial Strategies
The discovery and clinical application of checkpoint inhibitors have heralded a new era in cancer medicine that result in long-term survival for some patients with advanced cancer. However, most tumors are either inherently resistant to, or will adapt to become resistant to checkpoint inhibitors. Our challenge is to combine immunotherapy rationally with standard treatment regimens to increase responses or to prevent resistance. Our strategies for combinatorial approaches are: (a) eliciting immunogenic cell death with cytotoxic or radiotherapy; (b) combining anti-angiogenic and targeted therapies with immunotherapy; (c) sustaining responses with immune agonists; (d) inhibiting an immune suppressive microenvironment; and (e)combining immunotherapy with DNA damage response inhibitors.