Spring Seminar Series

March to June 2021

17th June 2021

Dr. Diletta Di Mitri

Title: Application of high-dimensional single-cell based approaches to decipher the cancer-immune axis

My talk will be centered on the description of high dimensional approaches that can be applied to dissect the interplay between cancer and tumor-infiltrating immune cells. The talk will start with a short introduction on the main steps of my career in science, focusing on the turning points that helped building my career. I will then dedicate few slides to a brief description of my last achievements as senior postdoc in Switzerland, aimed at the investigation of innate immunity in prostate cancer. After that I will show unpublished data from the projects that I’m developing at the moment, all focused on the application of single cell based approaches to the dissection of the tumor-immune axis in cancer.

Dr. Fabian Junker

Title: Immunophenotyping and target engagement assays by flow cytometry: Supporting the development of checkpoint inhibitor molecules for cancer immunotherapy

Checkpoint inhibition (CPI) has shown remarkable success in tumors poorly responsive to conventional therapy. Receptor occupancy (RO) by flow cytometry represents a frequently used PD biomarker assay which allows for rapid assessment of the degree to which specific cellular surface targets are occupied by drug at a given concentration. Typically, immunophenotyping and RO by flow cytometry is performed on peripheral patient blood.

In this presentation, we will assess basic principles of RO assay design. We will highlight the importance of quasi-quantitative approaches especially in the context of target competition and resulting steric hindrance, including examples from a recent Phase-I CPI dose escalation study. We will then conclude with perspectives on how we can improve assay designs to support more complex large molecule development. This is particularly relevant for the industry’s growing bi-specific therapeutic antibody immune-oncology portfolio, and with regards to increasingly challenging cohorts such as checkpoint-inhibitor experienced patients.
We will finalise with recommendations on how to design and interpret flow cytometry biomarker assays for patient immunophenotyping and target engagement purposes based on teachings from the clinic.

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