A spate of Phase III data events over the next two years will give a readout on how correctly the lessons learned five years ago about cancer immunotherapies targeting T cell responses have been put into practice. But the next wave of therapies already is testing and building upon new insights brought about by the success of Yervoy ipilimumab, the first of the immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Dendreon Corp.'s Provenge sipuleucel-T, which was approved to treat metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in 2010, proved the longstanding hypothesis that it is possible to induce a cancer patient's T cells to mount enough of a response against tumors to produce a measurable clinical effect (see BioCentury, April 20, 2009).