Symposium brings leaders in tumor immunology to SBP
SBP’s La Jolla campus recently hosted a one-day conference on Cancer Immunology and the Tumor Microenvironment, one of the hottest topics in cancer research. The symposium on March 17 attracted approximately 160 attendees from across the La Jolla biomedical research mesa.
The symposium was organized by Carl Ware, Ph.D. and Robert Rickert, Ph.D., directors of the Inflammatory and Infectious Disease Center and the Tumor Microenvironment and Cancer Immunology Program, respectively. They planned a scientific agenda that covered diverse aspects of research on harnessing the immune system to treat cancer, from improving current immunotherapies to identifying new immunological targets. Talks were given by prestigious scientists including:
- Crystal Mackall, M.D., Stanford University
- Yang-Xin Fu, M.D., Ph.D., UT Southwestern
- Mikala Egeblad, Ph.D., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
- Jose Conejo-Garcia, M.D., Ph.D., Wistar Institute
- Jonathan Powell, M.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- Shannon Turley, Ph.D., Genentech
- Karen Willard-Gallo, Ph.D., Institut Jules Bordet – Belgium
- Sandip Patel, M.D., UC San Diego
Two SBP researchers also presented. Linda Bradley, Ph.D., professor in the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program, discussed her work on the immune cell surface protein PSGL-1, showing that it regulates PD-1, a so-called “immune checkpoint.” PD-1 is found on T cells and normally acts as on “off switch” to keep the immune system from attacking cells in the body. PD-1 regulators are a new approach to treating cancer that work by unleashing cytotoxic T cells to kill cancer cells.
Adam Godzik, Ph.D., professor and director of the Bioinformatics and Structural Biology Program, spoke about using bioinformatic analyses to search for new cancer drivers related to the immune response. Cancer drivers are genes that, when altered, are responsible for cancer progression. Combining cancer mutation and protein structure databases, his team has identified many genes involved in immune recognition of tumors.