Childhood Cancer 2016: The potential of immunotherapy

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Published: 26 Sep 2016
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Dr John Anderson - University College London, London, UK

Dr Anderson speaks with ecancertv at Childhood Cancer 2016 to reflect on the presentations and discussions of the conference.

He introduces ongoing clinical trials for treating neuroblastoma with engineered T cells.

Dr Anderson was chair of the second day of the conference with Prof Persis Amrolia, who spoke with ecancer here.

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Childhood Cancer 2016

Childhood Cancer 2016: The potential of immunotherapy

Dr John Anderson - University College London, London, UK


We’ve just been having a session in which we have been looking at new ways in which we can target the immune system in order to effect new treatments in childhood cancer. We’ve had some extremely good state of the art presentations from real leaders in the field internationally who are running trials, clinical trials, of new approaches for childhood cancer, for example involving the manipulation of a body’s immune killer cells and their reintroduction back into patients.

What sort of discussion arose following the presentations?

We had a discussion at the end of the meeting specifically about how we can take these new approaches forward into the clinic and also what are what you might call the low hanging fruits, so what are the diseases which are the biggest unmet need in children’s cancer? How can we target them by applying the same approaches we’ve used which have been very successful in leukaemia into things such as childhood brain tumours and some of the other childhood diseases which are metastasised round the body. So that led to a very good discussion about applying the lessons which have been learnt in leukaemia and looking at ways in which solid tumours are different and how those approaches can be utilised in future clinical trials.

Are there any clinical trials ongoing that you think could be the highlights of future conferences?

I’m involved in a clinical trial in neuroblastoma which  is one of the childhood solid cancers in which we’re trying to use the same technology as has been used in the leukaemia field with what we call genetically modified T-cells in order to effect a shrinkage of a tumour. So probably in a year’s time when we’ve recruited more patients we’ll be beginning to get some real clear indications of how that’s going, what lessons we’ve learned and what changes we can do in order to improve it in the future.