From the microbiome to more ‘humanized’ models—our scientists reflect on research that moved them at the annual cancer meeting.

The AACR Annual Meeting 2017, held last week in Washington, D.C, highlighted the best cancer science and medicine from institutions across the globe.  Charles River researchers were among this group.  They presented posters on topics ranging from 3D cultures and whole-exome somatic mutations to humanized mouse trials.

So we were curious—what innovative research or trends grabbed the attention of our researchers during the four-day meeting. Between presentations, client meetings and special talks by former-Vice President Joe Biden, Eureka asked our team for their impressions from the show. Here are their edited responses.

“I watched an incredible presentation that talked about microbiomes and how they can affect whether a patient will be receptive to PD-1. There was a study using fecal transplants into clean mice without much microbiome flora. They took fecal transplants from patients who were responsive and unresponsive to PD-1 therapies, and found that in mice that received a transplant from a patient who was unresponsive, the mouse was also unresponsive to PD-1 therapies. However, when the transplant came from a responsive patient, the mouse also responded. The impact of the microbiome on cancer immunity is amazing.” –Omar Aziz, Director of Biology, (Harlow, UK)

“For a long time, combination therapies have been popular in oncology research. However this year, I’ve definitely seen a more targeted approach being taken to how different treatments are used together. As we amass a greater understanding of how certain drugs interact with each other, there will be a greater opportunity to develop treatment plans that are more highly personalized to a specific cancer or a specific patient.” –David Harris, Research Director (Morrisville, NC)

“I’ve seen a lot of client interest in CAR-T therapies recently… that appears [to be] an up-and-coming field.” –Doug Weitzel, Research Scientist I (Morrisville, NC)

“I heard a lot of deliberation on the use of biomarkers (tumor microenvironment) in clinical trials. Specifically, biomarkers that could be utilized to predict immunotherapy response and resistance. I also attended a session on the microbiome and cancer therapies to discuss the impact of gut microbiome on response to immunotherapies.” –Geeta Sharma, Senior Director Pharmacology (Worcester, MA)

“Immuno-oncology is still a growing field, thus there is a tremendous need for research models that can replicate human immune components” –Gautam Rajpal, Project Manager (Wilmington, MA)

 

For more on our coverage at AACR, check out the AACR 2017 section of our Eureka Blog.