Advances in the Immunotherapy of Cancer
Dr. London provided information and insights to help veterinarians stay up-to-date with veterinary oncology advancements as they learn how immunotherapy approaches are transforming human cancer treatment. Her presentation also examined the current opportunities for immunotherapy in veterinary patients along with the respective challenges.
Her talk on new frontiers in cancer immunotherapy included an overview of how stimulating an adaptable immune system learns and “remembers” things it has seen in the past, and why this fundamental process of immunologic memory is what makes anti-tumor immune responses so powerful. Immune cells can seek out and destroy tumor cells throughout the body, then continue patrolling over time to effectively deal with any relapse.
Dr. London summarized the concept of local immunosuppression by describing cancer cells that exist in a symbiotic relationship with their local micro-environment. This micro-environment is complex, and like tumor cells, it evolves in response to environmental pressures. Dr. London stated that the failure of anti-cancer therapies to eradicate tumor cells, especially in the setting of metastatic disease, is likely in part due to the presence of immunosuppression in the tumor environment.
Quotes from Dr. London
“Because mice models in cancer research are fairly homogenous, it is difficult to duplicate how cancers and thus cancer treatments work on an individual basis. Our research with canine oncology has found that cancer research in dogs is more useful when adapting cancer treatments to humans. Just like in humans, even the same type of cancer in dogs looks different from one individual to the next, so man’s best friend makes an excellent model to develop cancer therapies.”
About Dr. Cheryl London
Cheryl London, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Oncology), completed her residency in Medical Oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her PhD in Immunology at Harvard University. Today she is a Research Professor at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, an Associated Faculty Professor at the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, and a member of the BLUE Veterinary Advisory Board. She is the Director of the Blue Buffalo Veterinary Clinical Trials Office at Ohio State and Director of Translational Therapeutics at the Center of Clinical and Translational Sciences at OSU.
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