Immunotherapy: Timeline of key events

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More than 82 per cent of the patients went into remission. 2015-04-01T00:00:00+0000Results presented to American Society for Clinical Conference from trials involving monoclonal antibody drugs for lung and skin cancer. The drugs block a protein known as PD-1, which functions as an immune checkpoint, being responsible for preventing the activation of T-cells.2015-06-05T00:00:00+0000K.B. Chiappinelli, P.L. Strissel, A. Desrichard, et al, 'Inhibiting DNA methylation causes an interferon response in cancer via dsRNA including endogenous retroviruses', Cell, 162 (2015), 974-86.2015-08-27T00:00:00+0000Research conducted by team led by immunologist Laurence Zitvogel. M. Vetizou et al, 'Anticancer immunotherapy by CTLA-4 blockade relies on the gut microbiota', Science, 350/6264, (2015), 1079-84. doi: 10.1126/science.aad1329.2015-11-27T00:00:00+0000Based on the analysis of data from hundreds of patients, scientists found markers on tumour cells flagging up very early mutations of the disease. The advantage is these appear on all tumour cells, thereby providing a good target for treatment. N. McGranahan, et al, 'Clonal neoantigens elicit T cell immunoreactivity and sensitivity to immune checkpoint blockade', Science, 351/6280 (2016), 1463-69. 2016-03-25T00:00:00+0000UK scientists show how the TALENs gene editing tool can be used to switch on the immune system to stop cancer. L. Menger, et al, 'TALEN-Mediated Inactivation of PD-1 in Tumor-Reactive Lymphocytes Promotes Intratumoral T-cell Persistence and Rejection of Established Tumors', Cancer Research, 2016, doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-3352. 2016-04-15T00:00:00+0000Work led by Carl June at University of Pennsylvannia to treat patients with multiple myeloma, melanoma and sarcoma.2016-06-21T00:00:00+0000Research carried out by a team led by Dimitry I Gabriolvich. 2016-08-05T00:00:00+0000It was the first time tyhe FDA approved an immune checkpoint inhibitor for the treatment of lung cancer. The drug was developed by Merck & Co.2016-10-24T00:00:00+0000Announcement based on study of 221 patients with metastatic melanoma, approximately half of whom were treated with a PD1 checkpoint inhibitor drug. The research was conducted by researchers led by Jennifer Wargo at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. V. Gopalakrishnan et al, ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium. Abstract 02. Presented February 24, 2017. 2017-02-24T00:00:00+0000Developed by EMD Serono, avelumab was the first FDA approved product to treat metastatic Merckel cell carcinoma. Approval was given on the basis of basis of a clinical trial of 88 patient, 33% of whom experienced a complete or partial shrinkage of their tumours. In patients who responded, 86% had a response that last 6 months, and 45% had a response that lasted more than 12 months. The drug is being developed through an alliance between Merck KGaA and Pfizer. 2017-03-23T00:00:00+0000The drug CTL019 (tisagenlecleucel) was developed by Novartis. Treatment involves removing T cells from the patient and genetically modifying them to increase their capacity to bind to tumour cells in order to get the immune sytem to attack the tumours. It is targeted at children and young adults from three to 25 years old who have not responded to traditional treatments.2017-07-12T00:00:00+0000The drug Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) is the first gene therapy to become available in the US. 2017-08-30T00:00:00+0000The drug, a form of immunotherapy, is a PDL1 checkpoint inhibitor.2017-09-20T00:00:00+0000Research conducted by team led by Laurence Zitvogel at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Institute. B.Routy, 'Gut microbiome influences efficacy of PD-1–based immunotherapy against epithelial tumors', Science, eaan3706 DOI: 10.1126/science.aan37062017-11-02T00:00:00+0000Collaborative study led by Jennifer Wargo and Vancheswaran Gopalakrishnan. V. Gopalakrishnan et al, 'Gut microbiome modulates response to anti–PD-1 immunotherapy in melanoma patients', Science, 2 Nov 2017, eaan4236, DOI: 10.1126/science.aan42362017-11-02T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
Apr 2015 - Aug 2016Adoptive cell therapy (CAR-T therapy) trial conducted with 63 leukaemia patients in 11 countriesJuneNovartisCancer immunotherapy, Onoclogy, Adoptive cell therapy
5 Jun 2015Two immunotherapy drugs reported to stop cancer cells avoiding destruction by immune system   Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
27 Aug 2015Experiments with mice showed that azacytidine treatment enhanced the responsiveness of tumors to anti–CTLA-4 therapy  Cancer immunotherapy, Epigenetics, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology
27 Nov 2015Experiments in mice indicate that a tumour's response to cancer immunotherapy using CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor can be improved by changing the gut microbiome Zitvogel, Veitzou, Institut Gustave RoussyCancer immunotherapy, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology, Microbiome
25 Mar 2016Common tags discovered on the surface of cancer cells opening up new avenues for immunotherapyMcGranahan, Furness, Rosenthal, Ramskov, Lyngaa, Saini, Jamal-Hanjani, Wilson, Birkbak, Hiley, Watkins, Shafi, Murugaesu, Mitter, Akarca, Linares, Marafioti, Henry, Van Allen, Miao, Schilling, Schadendorf, Garraway, Makarov, Rizvi,m Snyder, Hellman, MerghUniversity College London, Cancer Research UK, Francis Crick Insitute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Broad Institute, University Duisburg-Essen, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia Univertsity, Weill Cornell Medical College, Harvard Medical SImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
15 Apr 2016Gene editing used to prompt immune cells to combat cancerQuezada, Johnson, Menger, Sledzinska, Bergerhoff, Vargas, Smith, Poirot, Pule, Hererro, PeggsUniversity College London, Cancer Research UK, CellectisImmunology, Oncology, TALENs, Gene editing, Cancer immunotherapy
21 Jun 2016US NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee approved first study in 15 patients using CRISPR/Cas 9 to genetically modify immune cells to attack cancerJuneUniversity of PennsylvaniaCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing, Gene Cancer immunotherapy
Aug 2016Marker identified for myeloid-derived suppressor cells, a type of cell associated with tumour resistance to certain cancer treatments Wistar InstituteImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
24 Oct 2016FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test. MerckImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
24 Feb 2017Researchers report patients with greater diversity of gut bacteria have better response to cancer immunotherapyWargo, GopalakrishnanMD Anderson Cancer CenterCancer immunotherapy, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology, Microbiome
23 Mar 2017FDA granted accelerated approval to avelumab, a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer treatment, in patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin disorderEMD Serono, Merck KGaA, PfizerImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
12 Jul 2017US FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee recommended the approval of the first adoptive cell therapy (CAR-T cell therapy) for B cell acute leukaemia Novartis, University of PennsylvaniaCancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Adoptive cell therapy, Gene therapy
30 Aug 2017USA FDA approved CAR-T therapy for certain pediatric and young adult patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia Novartis, University of PennsylvaniaCancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Adoptive cell therapy, Gene therapy
20 Sep 2017Nivolumab (Opdivo®) made available for NHS patients with advanced lung cancer Honko, FreemanMedarex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ono PharmaceuticalImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Immunotherapy, Monoclonal antibodies
2 Nov 2017Cancer patients taking routine antibiotics before or soon after given PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor found to relapse quicker and have shorter survival timeZitvogel, KroemerInstitut Gustave RoussyCancer immunotherapy, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology, Microbiome
2 Nov 2017Experiments with mice show tumour growth can be reduced by giving faecal transplants from patients who positively responded to cancer immunotherapyWargo, GopalakrishnanMD Anderson Cancer Center, Institute Gustave-RoussyCancer immunotherapy, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology, Microbiome

Apr 2015 - Aug 2016

Adoptive cell therapy (CAR-T therapy) trial conducted with 63 leukaemia patients in 11 countries

5 Jun 2015

Two immunotherapy drugs reported to stop cancer cells avoiding destruction by immune system

27 Aug 2015

Experiments with mice showed that azacytidine treatment enhanced the responsiveness of tumors to anti–CTLA-4 therapy

27 Nov 2015

Experiments in mice indicate that a tumour's response to cancer immunotherapy using CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor can be improved by changing the gut microbiome

25 Mar 2016

Common tags discovered on the surface of cancer cells opening up new avenues for immunotherapy

15 Apr 2016

Gene editing used to prompt immune cells to combat cancer

21 Jun 2016

US NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee approved first study in 15 patients using CRISPR/Cas 9 to genetically modify immune cells to attack cancer

Aug 2016

Marker identified for myeloid-derived suppressor cells, a type of cell associated with tumour resistance to certain cancer treatments

24 Oct 2016

FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test.

24 Feb 2017

Researchers report patients with greater diversity of gut bacteria have better response to cancer immunotherapy

23 Mar 2017

FDA granted accelerated approval to avelumab, a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer treatment, in patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin disorder

12 Jul 2017

US FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee recommended the approval of the first adoptive cell therapy (CAR-T cell therapy) for B cell acute leukaemia

30 Aug 2017

USA FDA approved CAR-T therapy for certain pediatric and young adult patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

20 Sep 2017

Nivolumab (Opdivo®) made available for NHS patients with advanced lung cancer

2 Nov 2017

Cancer patients taking routine antibiotics before or soon after given PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor found to relapse quicker and have shorter survival time

2 Nov 2017

Experiments with mice show tumour growth can be reduced by giving faecal transplants from patients who positively responded to cancer immunotherapy