Adrian Bot, MD, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Kite Pharma Inc.
Maurizio Chiriva-Internati, DBSc, Ph.D., Dir. of Basic/Translational Research Program, Texas Tech U. Health Sciences Ctr
Dr. Richard Harrop, Head of Clinical Analysis, Oxford BioMedica Ltd.
Richard Koya, MD, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Surgery, JCCC Tumor Immunology Program, UCLA
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Last Year's Conference
The hotly debated existence of cancer stem cells or tumor initiating cells may have a tremendous impact on the future of cancer treatment. As modern oncology largely directed towards developing therapies that achieve tumor reduction has been thus far unsuccessful in achieving long term management of cancer, much more needs to be done in identifying and appropriately leveraging targets associated with tumor initiation, relapse or metastasis. A key problem seems to be that cells with a capability to reinitiate tumor development during relapse or metastasis seem to be quite refractory to available therapies, largely directed to rapidly dividing cells.
As immunotherapy offers distinct mechanisms of actions amenable to both dormant, stem cell-like, as well as rapidly dividing cells, it raised a significant interest as alternate therapeutic approaches to achieve long term management of cancer. New targets and therapies against cancer stem cells or tumor initiating cells hold promise in terms of both quality of life and overall survival in metastatic disease. Conversely, understanding and exploiting the biology of normal hematopoietic and lymphoid stem cells could open up avenues to effectively re-engineer and direct the immune system against cancer.
Albert J. Wong, MD, Professor, Director, Brain Tumor Research Laboratories, Deptartment of Neurosurgery/Cancer Biology Program, Stanford University Medical Center
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