Fighting Cancer and Chronic Infections with T Cell Therapy: Promise and Progress

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Harding (Marriott Wardman Park)
T cell immunity has evolved to recognize and respond to health threats and provide a lifelong memory that prevents recurrent disease. However, with chronic diseases, T cells often become inactive. Recent advances have brought the idea of fighting chronic infections, and even cancers, by restoring protective T cell responses much closer to reality for mainstream clinical practice. This session focuses mainly on a promising approach known as adoptive T cell therapy, in which a patient receives "killer" immune cells that target a disease agent. However, several obstacles to widespread clinical use must be addressed: identifying or generating T cells that will be most effective for each individual case, whether from the patient or from a suitable donor; avoiding or countering potential side-effects; and finding ways to shorten the path from bench to bedside. This symposium reports on progress on all three fronts. This discussion covers the current status of clinical trials; the importance of distinct T cell subsets with stem cell-like characteristics for achieving durable responses; gene therapy for providing effective antigen-receptors and minimizing side-effects; and innovations in clinical cell processing and purification that could, among other things, open the way for faster regulatory approvals.
Patrick Regan, Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Ulrich Marsch, TUM
Stanley Riddell, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Engineering T Cells for Safe and Effective Cancer Immunotherapy
Chiara Bonini, San Raffaele Scientific Institute
TCR Gene Editing to Treat Hematological Malignancies