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Cancer Vaccines: Targeting Cancer Genes for Immunotherapy

6th March 2016 - 10th March 2016
Whistler, Canada


The past decade has seen tremendous developments in novel cancer therapies, through targeting of tumor cell-intrinsic pathways whose activity is linked to genetic alterations, as well as the targeting of tumor cell-extrinsic factors such as growth factors. Remarkable clinical success of checkpoint inhibitors as well as adoptively transferred genetically engineered T cells further demonstrates the critical role of T cells in cancer control and rejection. However, many patients still do not respond to checkpoint inhibitor therapies, possibly due to the lack of T cell repertoire with specificity against cancer antigens. This creates the need for effective means of expanding the T cells in patients via immunization, i.e., cancer vaccines. Much progress has been made in recent years in this regard, and several phase III clinical trials testing various approaches to therapeutic vaccination are ongoing. The challenge for next-generation vaccines is to resolve the discrepancy between the immune and clinical efficacy measured by the rate of cancer rejection. The future immunotherapy of cancer lies in combination approaches targeting T cells as well as cancer genes to combat underlying inflammation. Spectacular progress has been made in these two parallel fields, i.e., cancer genomics and genetics and tumor immunology. It is time now to link these fields to enable the linking of genetic alterations with the type of immune response. The meeting will therefore host cancer geneticists, cancer biologists, experts in cancer antigen presentation, tumor immunologists and vaccinologists. It will discuss the immunological basis for therapeutic cancer vaccines and how the current understanding of cancer genomics, antigen presentation and T cell biology might enable development of next-generation curative therapies for patients with cancer. This meeting will be held jointly with  Antibodies as Drugs.

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