Cancer and Immunotherapy Symposium Hosted by ACEA Biosciences Gathers Clinicians and Scientists From Around the World

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Researchers from academia, industry, and federal agencies convened in Washington, D.C. this week to discuss recent progress in diverse areas of basic and applied cancer research.

As a forum to promote scientific exchange and collaboration among scientists working at the forefront of cancer related disciplines, ACEA Biosciences hosted its annual Cancer and Immunotherapy symposium March 31-April 1 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Washington, D.C.

To start off the symposium Dr. Dan MacLeod of Precision Biosciences described using the ARCUS gene editing technology to produce heterologous CAR-T cells which can be used across multiple patients. By using an xCELLigence® Real-Time Cell Analysis instrument MacLeod’s team has been able to make quantitative in vitro comparisons of the target cell killing efficacy of different CAR constructs over the course of multiple days. Along the same lines, Dr. Eduardo Davila from the University of Maryland School of Medicine described the development of a novel fusion protein that activates Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling in CD8+ T cells in a TLR ligand-independent but TCR-dependent manner. Using mouse models and ex vivo assays Davila demonstrated that this fusion protein enhances responses against weakly immunogenic and/or poorly expressed tumor antigens, including melanoma neoantigens. Work involving ex vivo killing assays was also presented by Dr. Michael Overstreet from MedImmune. After isolating and expanding patient lymphocytes that display specificity for a particular antigen peptide, Overstreet and colleagues used xCELLigence to assess the lymphocytes’ capacity for target cell killing. Lymphocytes derived from different donors were found to display large variability in cytotoxic potency toward target cells expressing a given antigen. Armed with this type of information, Overstreet spoke about the prospect of assembling a collection of effector cells from different donors that could be used for personalized immunotherapy. In this scenario, the effector cells used to treat a patient would be chosen based on the specific antigen profile of the patient’s tumor.

On a different note, Dr. Katherine Cook of Wake Forest University described, in mechanistic detail, how ER stress within the tumor microenvironment can induce a switch from M1 to M2 macrophages (which have pro-tumorigenic activity). Also working with macrophages, Dr. Andrew MacLean of Tulane School of Medicine presented studies evaluating how lentiviral infection affects the activity of these critical immune cells.

Joey Orpilla from the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA shared results from glioblastoma dendritic cell vaccination trials. By demonstrating that PD-L1-expresssing tumor infiltrating myeloid cells are responsible for suppressing the immune response induced by the vaccine, this data helps to more clearly define another hurdle that must be overcome in order for an immunotherapy to be effective.

Dr. Fabio Cerignoli of ACEA Biosciences provided an overview of how the new xCELLigence Immunotherapy Software facilitates the acquisition and analysis of data from a wide variety of assay types.

To conclude the symposium a panel of judges selected Dr. Mathew McCord and Dr. Amelie Vezina, from the National Cancer Institute, as winners of this year’s Poster Award. By identifying new vasoactive agents that increase blood-brain barrier permeability, McCord and Vezina hope to improve the delivery of therapeutic agents for the treatment of malignant gliomas.

About xCELLigence® RTCA
xCELLigence® Real Time Cell Analysis (RTCA) instruments utilize gold microelectrodes embedded in the bottom of microtiter wells to non-invasively monitor the status of adherent cells using the principle of cellular impedance. In short, cells act as insulators – impeding the flow of a miniscule electric current between electrodes. This impedance signal is measured automatically, at an interval defined by the user, and provides an extremely sensitive readout of cell number, cell size, cell-substrate attachment strength, and cell invasion/migration. xCELLigence® RTCA instruments are being used in both academia and industry for basic and applied applications ranging from cancer immunotherapy and cardiotoxicity to drug discovery and receptor signaling. To date xCELLigence® has been used in more than 1,250 publications, which can be viewed in a searchable library.

About ACEA Biosciences
Founded in 2002, ACEA Biosciences is a pioneer in the development and commercialization of high performance, cutting edge cell analysis platforms for life science research. ACEA’s xCELLigence® impedance-based, label-free, real-time cell analysis instruments and NovoCyte® flow cytometer are used in pre-clinical drug discovery and development, toxicology, safety pharmacology, and basic academic research. More than 2,000 instruments have been placed globally.

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For further information please contact:                                                                                    
ACEA Biosciences, Inc.                                                                                                                
Dr. Jeff Xue                                                                                                                                    
Phone: 1-858-724-0928, x3075                                                                                                
email: jxue(at)aceabio(dot)com

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Jeff Xue, Ph.D.
ACEA Biosciences, Inc.
+1 8587240928 Ext: 3075
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