1. What do you think has been the biggest achievement within the antibody sector in the last 12 months?
The emerging success of antibody combinations – notably CTLA4 and PD1 coblockade through ipilimumab and nivolumab – is extremely exciting. Data presented this year has shown durability and tolerability of the combination beyond what was initially predicted as well as accelerated approval for the combination in melanoma, and also efficacy in indications beyond melanoma including both small cell and nonsmall cell lung cancers.
2. What important points do you hope to convey at the congress, and what information can you give me now that delegates can look forward to?
Despite the great and important successes seen in recent years for immunotherapy of cancer, we are still really only at the beginning of this field, with novel therapeutics and combinations poised to move us into the next wave of immunotherapy. In the world of antibodies, next generation checkpoint inhibitors including LAG3 and TIM3 blocking antibodies, in combination with PD1 coblockade, are showing preclinical evidence of targeting more than one modality for reinvigorating a CD8 effector T cell response, suggesting a rationale for why these combinations may offer efficacy beyond PD1 blockade.
3. What do you think will be the biggest topic of discussion at this November's European Antibody Congress?
One of the key topics in the field in general is how combinations – antibodyantibody; targeted therapies and immunotherapy; antibody and CAR T cells; antibody and vaccines – can improve patient responses and durability, and also offer treatment options in indications and patients that have previously been refractory to immunotherapy. I think this key topic will be an important discussion at the European Antibody Congress.
4. What are you looking forward to the most at the European Antibody Congress?
I’m really looking forward to the excellent speaker lineup, and especially the emerging stories around oncolytic viruses as immunotherapy.
5. What do you think will be the take home messages from the congress?
I think the key take home messages will center on what the key novel therapeutics approaches are – such as oncolytic viruses, ADCs, and mechanisms of targeting the suppressive tumor microenvironment – and how combinations of these with checkpoint inhibitors and standard of care treatments can offer hope for previously refractory patients and cancer indications.