NYMC Faculty Publications

Next-Generation Immuno-Oncology Agents: Current Momentum Shifts in Cancer Immunotherapy

Journal Title

Journal of Hematology & Oncology

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Document Type

Review Article

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Cancer immunotherapy has reached a critical point, now that immune checkpoint inhibitors and two CAR-T products have received market approval in treating 16 types of cancers and 1 tissue-agnostic cancer indication. Accompanying these advances, the 2018 Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery of immune checkpoint pathways, which has led to the revolution of anti-cancer treatments. However, expanding the indications of immuno-oncology agents and overcoming treatment resistance face mounting challenges. Although combination immunotherapy is an obvious strategy to pursue, the fact that there have been more failures than successes in this effort has served as a wake-up call, placing emphasis on the importance of building a solid scientific foundation for the development of next-generation immuno-oncology (IO) agents. The 2019 China Cancer Immunotherapy Workshop was held to discuss the current challenges and opportunities in IO. At this conference, emerging concepts and strategies for IO development were proposed, focusing squarely on correcting the immunological defects in the tumor microenvironment. New targets such as Siglec-15 and new directions including neoantigens, cancer vaccines, oncolytic viruses, and cytokines were reviewed. Emerging immunotherapies were discussed in the areas of overcoming primary and secondary resistance to existing immune checkpoint inhibitors, activating effector cells, and targeting immunosuppressive mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment. In this article, we highlight old and new waves of IO therapy development, and provide perspectives on the latest momentum shifts in cancer immunotherapy.

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