CIMT Plenary Speakers
Tak W. Mak
Ontario Cancer Institute
Dr. Mak is Director of The Campbell Family for Breast Cancer Research Institute as well as of the Advanced Medical Discovery Institute in Toronto, Canada. Furthermore, he is a senior scientist at the Division of Stem Cell and Developmental Biology Advanced Medical Discovery Institute/Ontario Cancer Institute. Dr. Mak is one of the leading world-renowned scientists in immunology and cancer research. In 1984, he was the first to clone and sequence mRNA of a human T-cell receptor, thus discovering a key molecule of the adaptive immune system. Since then, he has continued unraveling critical components of the immune system and tumorigenesis, such as the elucidation of the tumor suppressor PTEN with its negative regulation of the PKB/Akt-dependent cell survival, the Bcl 10 pathway with BcL 10 being a positive regulator of antigen receptor-induced activation of NF-kappaB and the major role of IL13 for growth and survival of Hodgkin lymphoma cells. His current work is focusing on deciphering and targeting the metabolic pathways in cancer. Dr. Mak received several distinguished awards including the Gairdner International Award for Science (1989), the Novartis Prize in Immunology (1998) and the Paul Ehrlich Prize (2004). In 2009, he was introduced to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
Dr. Ostrand-Rosenberg is a Professor of Biological Sciences and the Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Professor of Biochemistry at UMBC, and a member of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Greenebaum Cancer Center. Her research program has focused on understanding the role of the immune system in responding to malignancies, with the long-term goal of manipulating an individual’s immune response to reject metastatic cancer cells. In the 1990′s her laboratory was instrumental in demonstrating that CD4+ T helper lymphoyctes are essential for immune-mediated tumor rejection, and their studies were among the first labs to appreciate the requirement for CD80 (B7.1) in activating CD4+ T cells in the tumor setting. These basic studies led to the development of several experimental cancer vaccines based on the activation of CD4+ T helper cells. Within the past approximately ten years her lab has developed an additional focus on tumor-induced immune suppression. In this area, her lab made seminal contributions to identifying myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) as potent immune suppressive cells in individuals with cancer and identifying MDSC as a major obstacle to active cancer immunotherapies. At present, her lab is developing novel strategies to inactivate MDSC and promote tumor immunity. Her research studies have been reported in over 100 publications.
San Francisco, USA
Dr. Ira Mellman is Vice President of Research Oncology at Genentech and Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Mellman is also the scientific founder of CGI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now owned by Gilead) and Athersys, Inc., and an advisor to research institutes and foundations around the world. The recipient of many honors, named lectures, and awards, including Yale’s prestigious Sterling Professorship, Dr. Mellman is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences, an elected foreign member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cell Biology and as a member of the editorial boards of Cell, The JCB, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, and EMBO Journal. Dr. Mellman’s work has contributed numerous fundamental concepts to our current understanding of cell biology and immunology, beginning with the discovery, definition, and naming of a “new” organelle, the endosome. Extending this work, his laboratory has also elucidated the mechanisms by which epithelial cells polarize to form tissues and initiate cancer, and revealed the remarkable cell biological mechanisms underlying how dendritic cells act to initiate immune responses. At Genentech, Dr. Mellman is responsible for leading all aspects of oncology research and advancing both antibody and small molecule drug candidates into the clinic. The development of immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer is a key feature of Genentech’s activities.
Holden T. Maecker
Stanford School of Medicine
Dr. Maecker is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center at Stanford University. His research focuses on cellular immune responses to chronic pathogens and cancer, and the correlation of those responses with immune protection. Dr. Maecker received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, where he also did postdoctoral work. He previously held positions at Loyola University Chicago and BD Biosciences, San Jose, CA.
University of Tübingen
Dr. Rammensee is Head of the Department of Immunology at the University of Tübingen. He studied biology at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, and completed his PhD in the group of Prof Jan Klein at the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen. From 1993 to 1996, Dr. Rammensee was Head of the Department of Tumor-Virus Immunology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, where he was also affiliated to the Faculty of Theoretical Medicine at the University of Heidelberg. Following his postdoctoral studies at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla (California) and at the Basel Institute of Immunology, Dr. Rammensee returned to the Max Planck Institute for Biology where he was Head of the Laboratory for Immunology from 1987 to 1993. Hans-Georg Rammensee is author of more than 250 scientific articles, and co-editor of several journals including ‘Immunogenetics’, ‘Cellular and Molecular Life Science’, ‘European Journal of Immunology’ and others. Dr. Rammensee is recipient of many awards and member of numerous scientific advisory boards (including immatics biotechnologies GmbH and CureVac GmbH). Dr Rammensee has just received the “Familie-Hansen-Award 2013” for his pioneering research in translational immunology.
Glaxo Smith Kline Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Axel Hoos is Vice President, Oncology R&D at Glaxo Smith Kline Pharmaceuticals (GSK), where he directs clinical trials and translational research on molecular mechanisms of cancer and tumor-host interactions for rational combination of therapies to optimize patient outcomes. Prior to his current role, Dr. Hoos was the Medical Lead in Immunology/Oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) where he developed the Yervoy (Ipilimumab; anti CTLA-4) monoclonal antibody in melanoma and other indications. Yervoy is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and other Health Authorities, and is the first therapy to extend survival in metastatic melanoma. Before BMS, Dr. Hoos was Senior Director of Clinical Development at Antigenics Inc., a biotechnology company, which develops therapies for cancer and infectious diseases.
Dr. Hoos also serves as co-director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium (CIC) of the New York City-based Cancer Research Institute (CRI), an organization advancing the science and development of immune therapies against malignant disease. Further, he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington D.C., which is focused on new vaccine development, vaccine advocacy, and the fight against neglected tropical diseases.
In these capacities he focuses on developing novel therapies for life-threatening diseases with a special interest for innovative approaches to facilitate scientific exchange and improvement of the drug development process. Through his leadership a new methodological framework for development of cancer immunotherapies has been defined, geared to enable reproducible success for this emerging group of treatments.
Dr. Hoos holds an MD from Ruprecht-Karls-University and a PhD in molecular oncology from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) both in Heidelberg, Germany. He trained in surgery at the Technical University in Munich, Germany and further in surgery, molecular pathology and tumor immunology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He is an alumnus of the Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kalinke is Executive Director of TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, where he is also Director of the Institute for Experimental Infection Research. After he studied Biology in Hannover he did his Ph.D. at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg. There he studied the role of CD8 as a co- receptor in specific T cell recognition and aspects of peripheral T cell tolerance. For his postdoctoral time he moved to Zurich, Switzerland, where he worked in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Rolf Zinkernagel. During that time he focused on the analysis of virus- neutralizing antibody responses. Then Prof. Kalinke was appointed Staff Scientist and Leader of the “Anti-Viral Defense Group” at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo near Rome, Italy. In that environment he studied innate immunity induced by virus infection. In 2002 he was appointed Director and Professor of the Division of Immunology at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in Langen, Germany. There he was responsible for all licensing aspects of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies and of therapeutic vaccines. Furthermore, he pursued basic research on the interface between innate and adaptive anti- viral immunity. During that time Prof. Kalinke and his colleagues also addressed regulatory research issues such as challenges and opportunities of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies and new developments in therapeutic tumour vaccines. At his current position he is developing a translational infection research programme at TWINCORE, which is a joint venture between the Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and the Hannover Medical School (MHH). In addition to undertaking basic and translational research projects he helped to develop new teaching formats to distribute knowledge about regulatory issues relevant for clinical trial applications. In his own group he is currently studying anti- viral immunity and viral immune evasion. Another focus is the analysis of virus control within the central nervous system. The aim is to develop new therapeutic and preventive anti-viral strategies.
George C. Prendergast
Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
Dr. George Prendergast is President and CEO of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR). A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he received his BA in Biochemistry, he received his MS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. He went on to obtain advanced training as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at NYU Medical Center, after which he joined the Department of Cancer Research at Merck Research Laboratories. He then was appointed as Associate Professor at the Wistar Institute and later became Senior Director of the Cancer Research Group at DuPont, before he joined the Lankenau Insitute. The overall goal of Dr. Prendergast’s research has been to develop new therapeutic principles from cancer suppression functions (“genes to drugs”). As head of the Lankenau Institute he has sought to organize a unique ‘acapreneurial’ model that co-integrates small companies and non-profit research groups to speed translation of laboratory discoveries to clinical applications. The primary direction in Dr. Prendergast’s own research group is to determine immunomodulatory mechanisms controlled by the IDO and IDO2 enzymes, which directly impact therapeutics development in oncology, chronic infectious disease, autoimmunity and other major disorders.
Dr. Dolores Schendel is Director of the Institute of Molecular Immunology of the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich. Her research interests concentrate on the development of immunotherapies for cancer and chronic infections. In one form, dendritic cell vaccines are developed for treatment of patients with minimal residual disease (MRD) who harbour high-risk for disease relapse after conclusion of standard therapies. In collaboration with clinical partners from the Department of Hematology and Oncology of the Ludwig-Maximilians University and the Department of Cellular Therapy of the University of Oslo, a phase I/II trial will begin shortly in MRD patients with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia. As an alternative form of immunotherapy for patients with higher tumor burdens, adoptive T cell therapy using lymphocytes engineered to express high avidity, tumor-specific T cell receptors (i.e. TCR gene therapy) is being explored for both haematological and solid tumors. Dr. Dolores Schendel is a member of the “Scientific Board of the Health Research Advisory Council” for the German Federal Ministry for Education and Science, and the Advisory Board ‘Clinical Research’ of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Dr. Schendel was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2002.
Dr. Beckhove is the Head of the Translational Immunology Division at the German Cancer Research Institute (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. He studied medicine at the Universities of Hamburg and Heidelberg, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine (Hematology/Oncology) at the University Medical Center, Heidelberg. Dr. Beckhove then became head of the DKFZ Research Group “Translational Immunology” and in 2008 followed a call as Associate Professor for Immunotherapy at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University, Chicago Ill., U.S.A.
Dr. Beckhove is interested in the regulation and clinical impact of immune responses against human cancer, T-cell based cancer immunotherapy, immune modulatory ligands on tumor cells and regulatory T cells, and is working to describe formative and regulative mechanisms of T-cell tumor responses. His group was the first to demonstrate that the majority of tumor patients retain tumor-specific memory cells in their spinal marrow. These findings have led to a new interpretation of the protective mechanisms of tumor immunotherapies. In addition, Dr. Beckhove’s group has identified target antigens for tumor vaccinations and antibody-based immunotherapies, while demonstrating the need for improved migration of tumorlytical T cells in human tumors.
Istituto Clinico Humanitas
Dr. Alberto Mantovani is Scientific Director of the Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Milan, Italy, President and founder of the Fondazione Humanitas per la Ricerca and full Professor of General Pathology, School of Medicine, State University of Milan. His research centers mainly on molecular regulation mechanisms of leukocyte infiltration. A second line of work centers on the study of secondary cytokines known as chemokines. His group has also cloned the PTX3 (cDNA and genome, human and mouse), the first member of the long pentraxin family, and defined his function in innate immunity and inflammation. Dr. Mantovani has won the Biotec award (Dompè), the T.Bonazinga Award, SLB (Cambridge, MA, USA) and the Guido Venosta Prize by the President of the Republic of Italy. Dr. Mantovani is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), a member of the Henry Kunkel Society and Councilor of the International Cytokine Society.
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Dr. Jill Slansky trained in molecular oncology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and in tumor immunology at the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center. She is an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the Department of Immunology. Dr. Slansky studies the response of tumor-specific lymphocytes with the focus on improving them, using immunogenic animal models of cancer, and applying what is learned in these systems to human breast and lung cancer. She has been the co-director of the Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and integral in the graduate and medical school teaching programs. She has served on committees for the American Association of Immunology (AAI) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
Paul Ehrlich Institut
Dr. Eva-Maria Jahn joined the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) in 2002 after 2 years in Clinical Research. She worked within different sections of the PEI before she moved to the Inspection Services, working as a GCP inspector for biological medicinal products.
Her focus is on GCP inspections connected with Clinical Trial Authorisations and Marketing Authorisation Applications. In addition, she accompanies the German Laender authorities during inspections of ongoing clinical trials as a PEI inspector.
She is a member of the EMA GCP-Inspectors Working Group as well as of the German Laender authorities’ national expert-group for clinical trials.
University of Verona
Dr. Vincenzo Bronte is currently Head of the Immunology Section in the Department of Pathology and Diagnostics of Verona University and Head of the U.O.C of Immunology in the Policlinico G. B. Rossi Hospital. He is Full Professor of Immunology at the University of Verona. Dr. Bronte’s major achievements has been the definition and characterization of immunoregulatory cells, now called myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), whose negative influence on antitumor immunity represents the major obstacle to a successful immunotherapy of cancer. Current projects in the laboratory are further exploring the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the biological properties of MDSCs, with particular attention to definition of novel drugs affecting their function to be used alone or in combination with active or passive immunotherapy approaches.
Dr. Bronte was awarded: in 1997 by SIICA with PBI International Prize; in 2007 by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Rome, Italy) with the International Prize “Francesco De Luca” for scientific Oncology career; in 2008 by the Italian Foundation for Cancer Research (FIRC) with the Prize “Guido Venosta” for oncology researchers. Dr. Bronte is also member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and member of the board of the Accademia Nazionale di Medicina and Italian Cancer Society (SIC), Italy.
Dr. Steffen Walter is Director and Head of Immunology at immatics
biotechnologies, a biotech company located in Tuebingen and dedicated to the
development of peptide-based active immunotherapy. Dr. Walter is responsible
for the immunological biomarker program (immunomonitoring) from immatics’
phase I-III clinical vaccination trials that allows rational decisions for
drug development. This includes the setup of one of the largest
international laboratory networks to collect high-quality PBMC samples from
multi-centric clinical trials, assessment of T-cell specificity and function
as well as state-of-the-art measurement of multiple cellular biomarkers to
define the immune status of a patient. Furthermore, his team pre-clinically
assesses the immunogenicity of novel product candidates. Dr. Walter is a
steering committee member of CIMT-CIP to establish the urgently needed
standardization and harmonization to allow immunomonitoring become a fully
accepted clinical trial endpoint.
Center of Molecular Immunology
Dr. Zaima Mazorra Herrera is a biochemist who obtained her PhD in Immunology at the University of Havana, Cuba. She was trained in the biology of human CD1-restricted T cells and in the generation and characterization of glycolipid specific- T cell clones at the Department of Experimental Immunology under professor Gennaro de Libero´s supervision at Basel University Hospital in Switzerland (2000-2002). Since 2005, she is the head of the Clinical Immunology Department at the Center of Molecular Immunology (CIM), in Cuba. The main goal of her research group is the immunemonitoring of patients treated with immunotherapeutic products for advanced tumors and autoinmune diseases. These patients are included in phase I-III clinical trials and are receiving cancer vaccines and monoclonal antibodies developed by CIM. In addition, her departement is involved in the identification of predictive biomarkers of clinical benefit for those novel products.
Bonn University Medical Center
Dr. Thomas Tueting, MD, is Associate Professor of Experimental Dermatology and Head of Dermato-Oncology in the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital Bonn. He performed his clinical education as a dermatology resident in the Army Hospital Koblenz and the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital Mainz. He subsequently received basic research training in tumor immunology at the University of Pittsburgh in the laboratories of Michael Lotze and Albert DeLeo. Dr. Tueting’s laboratory has experimentally developed combinatorial T cell immunotherapy protocols in mouse models. His group explored genetic vaccine strategies with dendritic cells for melanoma, adoptive T cell transfer approaches, and the use of synthetic oligonucleotides to strongly activate the type I IFN system in the tumor microenvironment. An important finding was that simultaneous triggering of endosomal and cytosolic antiviral pattern recognition receptors supports T cell effector functions and promotes tumor cell death. Dr. Tueting pioneered the establishment of novel genetic mouse model systems that combine experimental tools of tumor immunology and tumor biology to adequately portray clinical situations observed in melanoma patients. Using this approach, his group recently discovered that progressively growing autochthonous melanomas can resist cytotoxic T cell responses directed against melanocytic differentiation antigens through reversible dedifferentiation in an inflammatory microenvironment. The inflammation-induced phenotypic plasticity may represent a more general mechanism how tumor cells resist various forms of cytotoxic therapies.
National Cancer Institute
Luca Gattinoni received his M.D. degree from the Università degli Studi of Milano, Italy in 1998. Following the completion of his residency in medical oncology at the Istituto Nazionale Tumori in Milan, he joined the National Cancer Institute (NIH) in 2003 and became a Staff Scientist in 2008. His research interest is in T-cell-based immunotherapies with an emphasis on T-cell differentiation and transcriptional regulation of T-cell self-renewal and memory formation.
Dr. Jan Müller-Berghaus is a certified paediatrician and worked as a paediatrician at the University of Cologne, Germany, from 1991 to 1998. Subsequently he gained experience as a researcher and immunologist during a stay in the USA (Storkus’ Lab, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Surgery) and at the German Cancer Research Center (Schadendorf lab, DKFZ, Clinical Cooperation Unit Skin Cancer), Heidelberg.
He joined the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in 2005 as a clinical assessor. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut is the German Federal Agency for vaccines and biomedicines and is actively participating in all aspects of German and European marketing authorisation as well as clinical trial authorisation. He is co-opted member of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) and a member of the Scientific Advice Working Party (SAWP) at the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Magali is a Regulatory Affairs professional with more than 14 years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry based in France, with her most recent position at Transgene S.A.. She is specialised in European & US Pharmaceutical/Biologics Regulatory Affairs from preclinical to clinical development stages. She has experience managing regulatory strategies until MA submissions, regulatory interactions with health authorities and regulatory operations for projects at global, national and European levels. Especially, she has hands on management of regulatory affairs for a Drug-Dx program in oncology, implying closed connections with both Drug and Dx regulatory authorities.
Dr. Özlem Türeci is a founder of Ganymed and became Chief Executive Officer in November 2008. Formerly she had served as Ganymed’s CSO. Dr. Türeci studied medicine at the University of Saarland in Homburg. After finishing her studies in 1992, Dr. Türeci worked as junior resident in the Oncology Hematology, Infectious Disease and Bone Marrow transplantation wards. Dr. Türeci co-developed the SEREX technology for the characterization of tumor antigens. She was awarded the Vincenz Czerny Prize of the German Association for Hematology and Oncology in 1995 and the Calogero Pagliarello Research Prize of the University Saarland in 1997. Since August 2000, Dr. Türeci has been heading an independent research group together with Prof. Dr. Sahin at the University of Mainz, Germany.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, USA
Dr Brentjens obtained an MD/PhD (microbiology) from SUNY Buffalo, completed residency in medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital, and a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Currently, Dr Brentjens is an associate member on the faculty at MSKCC and an attending physician on the leukemia service. As a medical oncology fellow during his training at MSKCC, Dr Brentjens initiated the initial pre-clinical studies demonstrating the potential clinical application of autologous T cells genetically modified to target the CD19 antigen through the retroviral gene transfer of artificial T cell receptors termed chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Following completion of his medical oncology training, Dr Brentjens became the principle investigator of his own laboratory. As a PI, Dr Brentjens successfully translated these studies to the clinical setting treating patients with relapsed CD19+ tumors including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Ongoing pre-clinical research in the laboratory is focused on the further development of CAR modified T cells designed to overcome the hostile immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment through the generation of “armored CAR T cells” currently being translated to the clinical setting as second generation CAR modified T cell clinical trials. Additionally, work in the Brentjens’ lab has expanded this CAR technology to target additional tumor antigens expressed on other tumors including targeting the MUC-16 antigen expressed on ovarian carcinomas as well as the more ubiquitous WT-1 tumor associated antigen. These latter projects are similarly in the process of translation to the clinical setting.
University of Texas
Dr. Laurence Cooper is a Professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), with joint appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Immunology. He is Section Chief of Cell Therapy at the Children’s Cancer Hospital (CCH) at MDACC and additionally serves as director of the institution’s Immunology Laboratory of Physician-Scientists. Dr. Cooper earned his medical and doctorate degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and completed his fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2006, he was recruited to join the CCH at MDACC, where he cares for children undergoing hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (now known as Cell Therapy) and leads scientific efforts to develop new treatment approaches which pair gene engineering and nanotechnology with immunotherapy. Dr. Cooper’s research has resulted in him founding a company and in more than a dozen patents (granted and pending). A former National Institutes of Health Research Center Scholar, Scholar of the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, and Leukemia Society of America Fellow, Dr. Cooper is the principal investigator for numerous initiatives and trials. In 2007 he was elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation, which honors outstanding physician-scientists. Other tributes paid to Dr. Cooper include the Houston’s 2012 “Men of Distinction”, 2010 “Best Boss” award MDACC, 2009 Faculty Scholar Awards MDACC, 2007 Induction into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2004 American Society of Gene Therapy Young Investigator Award, and 1999 American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award. Dr. Cooper has coauthored dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts and book chapters. Since 2006 he has initiated six gene therapy trials under IND using T cells and NK cells. He is undertaking the first gene therapy trials using Sleeping Beauty transposon/transposon system and has helped develop clinical-grade artificial antigen presenting cells for propagating lymphocytes. Three such trials are underway infusing CD19-specific T cells to improve the anti-tumor effect in patients with leukemia and lymphoma undergoing autologous and allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. The gene therapy platform has been adapted to modify T cells with zinc finger nucleases and transcription activator-like effector nucleases to eliminate undesired genes. Dr. Cooper is building on these platforms to develop genetically modified T cells as off-the-shelf therapies.
University of Ottawa
Dr. John Bell received his PhD from McMaster University in 1982. The three years that followed, he trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa and then at the Medical Research Council in London, England. Dr. Bell began his independent research career at McGill University in 1986 and moved to the University of Ottawa, Department of Medicine, in 1989. He is a member of the Center for Cancer Therapeutics at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center, a Senior Scientist with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He heads the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, a Terry Fox funded group from across Canada that is developing virus based cancer therapeutics and is the Director of the Biotherapeutics Program for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. His research program is directed towards the identification and characterization of novel viruses that specifically infect and kill cancer cells. Currently he is the Chief Scientific Officer for Jennerex Biotherapeutics, a small biotech company that performs clinical testing of virus therapeutics in patients.
Charles G. Drake
Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Charles Drake received his PhD in Immunology from the National Jewish Center for Immunology, and his MD from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. After completing an internal medicine residency on the Osler medicine service at Johns Hopkins, he entered the field of medical oncology. During Dr. Drake’s oncology fellowship, he began to investigate the immune response to prostate cancer, developing a unique murine model to perform studies on antigen-specific T cell tolerance to tumors. Experiments in this model supported the concept that androgen-ablation could mitigate tolerance to prostate cancer, creating a window during which tumor vaccination could prove successful (Cancer Cell 2005). At the current time, Dr. Drake is the co-director of the Multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Clinic at Hopkins, where the combination of androgen-ablation and vaccination is being examined in a translational, pre-surgical trial. Using additional in vivo models, the Drake laboratory showed that LAG-3 is relatively over-expressed on non-functional T cells, and that LAG-3 blockade affects T cell function in both Treg dependent and Treg independent mechanisms (JCI 2007). More recently, the laboratory was able to show that blocking the immune checkpoints PD-1 and LAG-3 could prove synergistic, in several in vivo cancer models. Ongoing work in the laboratory is focused on understanding the role of LAG-3 in regulatory T cell induction, as well as the regulation of immune checkpoint molecules and ligands in prostate and kidney cancer.
Industry Satellite Symposia Speakers
University Hospital Heidelberg
Dr. Jäger has been the Head of the Medical Oncology Department at the National Center for Tumor Diseases at the University Hospital Heidelberg since 2005. He studied medicine at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and the University of Lübeck. From 1998-2000, he was a research fellow at the Cancer Research Institute, Cornell Medical Center, New York, where he focused on the identification of new tumor antigens in breast cancer and melanoma (SEREX). From 2000 – 2005, he was an attending physician at hospitals in Frankfurt, Germany, and Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Jäger is a member of the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative of the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), New York, and recipient of the RCI Investigator Award. He is also officially affiliated with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR). In his work, he focuses on the identification of tumor antigens, the characterization of spontaneous humoral immune responses and the clinical relevance of local immune cell infiltration into tumors.
University Hospital Bonn
Prof. Peter Brossart is Head and Chair of the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Rheumatology at the University Hospital Bonn. His clinical education and qualification he performed at the Universities of Freiburg, Heidelberg and Tübingen. During this time and his post doctoral education in the laboratory of M. J. Bevan at the University of Washington, Seattle, he worked on the mechanisms mediating self tolerance, antigen presentation and the development of immunotherapeutic approaches to treat malignant diseases. He designed and conducted several clinical Phase I/II trials using antigen pulsed dendritic cells or in vitro transcribed RNA. In addition, he contributed important insights in dendritic cell biology and characterized mechanisms involved in tumor recognition by the immune system. He identified several broadly expressed tumor associated antigens that are world wide used in vaccination trials. He is currently working on the development of combinational immunotherapies by utilizing monoclonal antibodies or novel compounds such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Prof. Brossart is recipient of many awards and member of numerous editorial and scientific advisory boards.
University Medical Center Mainz
Dr. Stephan Grabbe is Director and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital Mainz, Germany. He studied medicine at the University of Münster and graduated with a Ph.D. in dermatology. From 1989-1992, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA., and then became Resident and Research Fellow at the University of Münster. After several years at the Universities of Münster and Essen, he moved to his current position in Mainz. Dr. Grabbe received numerous awards and honors, including a “Heisenberg” fellowship of the German Research Society. In his research, Dr. Grabbe focuses on morphodynamics of the interaction between dendritic cells and T cells, the role of b2 integrins in antigen presentation as well as tumor immunotherapy with dendritic cells and nanoparticles.
The Netherlands Cancer Institute
Prof. Dr. Haanen studied medicine at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. Immediate thereafter he performed research as a graduate student at the Leiden University Medical Center, Dept of immunohematology (Prof J. van Rood and Prof R. de Vries) and DNAX, Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calofornia, USA (Dr. H. Spits) on human T helper 1 cells in mycobacterial disease. After his PhD defence in 1991, he was trained as internist in The Hague and Leiden. In 1997 he performed a post-doctoral fellowship at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Division of Immunology (Prof A. Kruisbeek and Dr. T. Schumacher) studying virus- and tumor-induced CD8 T cell responses in murine models.
In 1999 he was trained as medical oncologist and as of 2001 he was appointed as consultant medical oncologist at The Netherlands Cancer Institute. Together with Prof T Schumacher and more recently Dr. C. Blank he developed translational immunotherapy programs with focus in the treatment of melanoma and HPV associated cancers. As of 2011 several adoptive cell therapy programs have been established at the NKI, including TIL therapy and TCR gene therapy for melanoma. In addition Prof Haanen was PI on several pivotal phase III melanoma studies (both immunotherapy and targeted therapy.
In 2008 he was appointed as professor in Translational Immunotherapy of Cancer at the Leiden University Medical Center and became head of the Division of Medical Oncology at the NKI (2010).
University of Cologne
Dr. Hinrich Abken is Professor for Genetics & Immunology at CMMC (Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne) at the University of Cologne and Dept I Internal Medicine, Oncology-Hematology at the University Hospital Cologne where he is working towards the development of adoptive cell therapy of malignant diseases using engineered T cells. Dr. Abken studied medicine at Essen University and was post-doc at the Institute for Cell Biology at Essen University. He received his venia legendi in Genetics and Immunology from the Faculty of Science of the Rheinische Wilhelms Universität Bonn where he was group leader at the Institute for Genetics. In 1993 he became C3 University Professor for Tumor Genetics at the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne. Dr. Abken’s group made significant contributions in the field of chimeric antigen receptors, recombinant targeting molecules to redirect T cells towards defined targets. Current research is aimed at improving the immunotherapy of melanoma and gastrointestinal carcinoma, at developing novel strategies in modulating an immune response and at translating the T cell strategy into clinical trials.
Jaime Gállego Pérez-Larraya
Clínica Universidad de Navarra
Dr. Gállego studied medicine at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. Subsequently he completed his residency training program in neurology at the Clinic of the University of Navarra, and became faculty at the Department of Neurology of the same institution. He focused his clinical interest in the management of patients with primary brain tumours and neurological complications of cancer, which brought him to perform a clinical fellowship in Neuro-Oncology at the Hôpital La Salpêtrière, in Paris. He was involved in clinical trials for patients with glioblastoma and centered his translational research on circulating biomarkers for gliomas. In 2011 he joined back the Division of Neuro-Oncology at the University of Navarra, where immunotherapy with tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells for patients with malignant gliomas has become a major topic of clinical research.
Mr. Tomas Dillenbeck has an MSc in molecular biotechnology from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and is currently managing the development of FluoroSpot reagents at Mabtech AB in Stockholm, Sweden. Mabtech investigates monoclonal antibodies, and has been a developer of ELISpot products and technology and T-cell measurements. Mr. Dillenbeck has been involved in the Mabtech development of fluorescent detection in FluoroSpot.
ZellNet Consulting, Inc.
Fort Lee, USA
Dr. Sylvia Janetzki, is the founder and president of ZellNet Consulting, Inc., and Coordinator of the Assay Working Group of the CIC/CRI. ZellNet, specialized in the Elispot technique and its advancement, cooperates with many organizations and institutions including the WHO and Elispot Resource Group to enhance the knowledge and improved performance of Elispot assays. Dr. Janetzki’s work has led to a close collaboration with the Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium (CIC/CRI), for which she initiated and leads a proficiency panel program addressing different assays like Elispot, Multimer staining, ICS, Luminex, and others. This program, currently the largest program of its kind involving more than 100 laboratories from around the world, offers an external validation program, and enhances assay harmonization. First assay harmonization guidelines for the field have been published as result of this program.
IOZK Immunologisches und Onkologisches Zentrum
Dr. Maria Lulei heads the immunomonitoring unit of the Immunologisches und Onkologisches Zentrum (IOZK) in Cologne, Germany, where she has established patient-specific immunomonitoring to detect T cell memory after autologous tumor vaccination via the ELISpot method. Dr. Lulei is also a consultant and expert in the training of mmunomonitoring by ELISpot method including the coordination and integration in the laboratory.
Dr. Markus Rüger works as product manager for AID GmbH, Germany. After having studied Biology at the University of Erlangen and the University of Regensburg, he received his PhD at the LMU, Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. Since 2008 he is responsible for the entire AID product line, including IVD diagnostics, reader systems and imaging analyzers. He supports AID customers in Europe and all over the USA by doing software installation and training as well as wet-lab workshops.
I-STEM gGmbH / German Cancer Research Center
Dr. Martin Sprick is a junior group leader leader of Experimental Oncology at HI-STEM gGmbH/German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany, where he is responsible for basic and translational research in oncology with the focus on cancer stem cell biology and metastasis initiating cells, novel in vitro and in vivo model systems, pre-clinical and clinical studies. Dr. Sprick studied biology at Konstanz University and the German Cancer Research Center and did his post-doctoral research as an EMBO Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Laboratory for Experimental Oncology and Radiobiology, at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Svetlana Karakhanova is a junior group leader at the Surgery Department at the University Hospital of Heidelberg. Her research focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of immune regulation in healthy state and tumor diseases, investigating the detailed reaction of the immune system to the pancreas carcinoma. In developing new combined immunotherapy approaches, Dr. Karakhanova executes precise immunomonitoring of patients using multicolor cellular biomarkers.