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12:00 AM
 | 
Jan 27, 2014
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Immunotherapy Goes Mainstream

NCI's Rosenberg; Juno's Bishop, Riddell on future of immunotherapy from BCTV

BioCentury This Week television aims to provide a platform for the public, patients, academia, government and industry to engage in informed dialogue about healthcare innovation. As part of the initiative, BioCentury television's new "Profiles in Innovation" feature focuses on transformational ideas in science, medicine and policy that are reshaping healthcare.

This week, Steven Rosenberg of the National Cancer Institute describes how decades of lab research and scores of clinical failures are finally leading to treatments that can teach a patient's immune system to eradicate cancer.

The chief of surgery at NCI said he thinks adoptive cell therapies based on patients' own immune cells, when used in combination with targeted therapies, have the potential to become standard of care. But he casts doubt on the future of antigen-based cancer vaccines.

Looking ahead, Juno Therapeutics Inc. CEO Hans Bishop and scientific co-founder Stanley Riddell describe how they can use a newly raised $145 million series A round to accelerate immunotherapy advances from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Seattle Children's Research Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (see BioCentury, Dec. 9, 2013).

Bishop, formerly EVP and COO of Dendreon Corp., outlines the clinical results Juno already is seeing with its adoptive cell therapies, and why the company believes it must continue to invest heavily in science.

Riddell, also a clinical researcher at Fred Hutchinson, says characterizing and standardizing adoptive cell therapies will likely be necessary for regulators, while also improving the potency and duration of effect of these treatments.

Edited excerpts follow. The entire set of "Profiles in Innovation" videos is available at www.biocenturytv.com/innovation.

BioCentury This Week: When did you first have evidence that immunotherapy works to treat cancer?

Steven Rosenberg:We began experiments in the laboratory in experimental animals and then in people, and it wasn't until 1984 after treating 80 consecutive patients with either low doses of IL-2 or T cells that had minimal anti-tumor activity, that we [successfully] treated the first patient. She was a 31-year-old woman who was in the Navy who had widespread melanoma and had been through other treatments - alpha interferon, other experimental treatments. The tumor had spread throughout her body.

We gave her very high doses of interleukin-2 and she was the first patient to show a complete regression of widely metastatic cancer due to the administration of an agent that was strictly...

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