The SITC Top Three: What you need to know about MedImmune at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s annual meeting

As scientists from around the globe gather this week at the National Harbor, MD, for the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Annual Meeting, one buzz word seems apparent: Innovation. But with so much new data, how can you pinpoint just what to watch? As a leader in cancer immunotherapy, MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, presents our top three things you need to know about our posters and presentations:

1. Definiens and durvalumab

Part of the AstraZeneca and MedImmune family, Definiens works to develop strategies aimed at predicting which patients may benefit from novel investigational therapies within our comprehensive Immuno-Oncology (IO) pipeline.  

Contributing to this pursuit, Definiens’ Dr. Sonja Althammer will deliver an oral presentation on, “Combinatorial CD8(+) and PD-L1(+) Cell Densities Correlate with Response and Improved Survival in NSCLC Patients Treated with Durvalumab”.

Based on the hypothesis that the predictive utility of PD-L1 expression in identifying  responders to durvalumab monotherapy might be enhanced through simultaneous detection of other biomarkers, this study tested the hypothesis that co-expression testing of PD-L1(+) and CD8(+) cells might correlate with an enhanced response to durvalumab.

Come to Sonja’s presentation on Friday at 12pm to learn more about this novel approach to biomarker-directed patient selection.

2. Comprehensive IO approach

AstraZeneca/MedImmune has developed a comprehensive approach to IO focused on both the tumor and the immune system—and three primary routes through which cancer can escape. See, “Following the early science to fight cancer,” by David Berman, Senior Vice-President, Head of Oncology Innovative Medicines, MedImmune.

At SITC, we are sharing preliminary data on novel therapies that aim to overcome each escape route:

  • Absent response—where a patient’s immune system does not detect the cancer, our investigational programs aim to trigger a productive immune response. AT SITC, see our work with TLR7/8.
  • Weak response—when a patient’s immune system attempts to fight the cancer, but the response is inadequate, our investigational programs attempt to convert the response from weak to strong. At STIC, see our work with NKG2A.
  • Suppressed response—sometimes a patient’s immune system is actively engaged, but the cancer cells erect suppressive barriers. Our investigational programs attempt to remove these barriers to allow the immune system to effectively fight the cancer.

3. Partnering for progress

At the 2016 SITC annual meeting, MedImmune is presenting data from several preclinical/clinical collaborations and partnerships, including:

  • Poster #234: A study on improving the efficacy of a therapeutic cancer vaccine through selective targeting of GITR with the National Cancer Institute; (Saturday, Nov 12, 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM)
  • Poster #250: Intratumoral injection of MEDI9197, a human toll-like receptor (TLR) 7/8 agonist, with 3M—an investigation that demonstrated inhibited tumor growth and constructive modulation of the tumor environment; (Saturday, Nov 12, 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM)
  • Poster #196: A combination strategy blocking both NKG2A/HLA-E and PD1/PD-L1 that shows promise for activating adaptive and innate immune systems, working with Innate Pharma; (Saturday, Nov 12, 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM)

As we’ll see at SITC and beyond, our goal is to reverse the cancer mortality trend, and our science has armed us with the capabilities to do so. We are looking forward to our time at SITC and sharing our progress in developing cancer immunotherapies.