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Immune checkpoint blockade in cancer therapy: New insights, opportunities, and prospects of care

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


James P. Allison, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Immunology
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Allison's group studies basic mechanisms that regulate T-cell responses and interweaves mouse and human studies to improve existing approaches and develop new strategies for manipulating T-cell responses to cure cancer. Allison’s landmark translation studies—showing that the antibody-mediated blockade of CTLA-4 co-inhibitory function could enhance antitumor immunity and result in tumor rejection in mice—prompted the clinical development of ipilimumab, which was approved by the FDA in 2011 as therapy for late-stage melanoma patients. His concept of antibody-mediated blockade of immunologic checkpoints as cancer therapy opened a new field of immunotherapy.


In this lecture Dr. Allison will describe another major activity: building a team of clinicians and physician-scientists who will work together in a state-of-the-art immune-monitoring facility to accelerate the movement of immune-based combinatorial therapies into clinical trials. These trials will not necessarily have conventional clinical endpoints, but will be designed to yield mechanistic data that would inform combinations and schedules likely to have clinical impact. These would be small trials, likely in the pre-surgical or neoadjuvant setting, with the extensive collection and analysis of samples from tumor and local lymphoid tissues as well as peripheral blood. The overall goal of this immense project will be to dissect the immunologic impact of novel therapies and combinations as well as to examine the tumor itself for alterations that may render it resistant to specific mechanisms of immune attack.

The page was last updated on Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 9:42am