Treating Cancer: A Whole New Ball Game

oncology@250The field of immune-oncology has exploded in the past five years, and has achieved transformational successes in a number of important human malignancies. Professionals in the field, as well as primary caregivers, pharmaceutical researchers, third-party payers, commercial decision-makers, and patient advocates need comprehensive understanding of this area as it relates to their roles.

This series of six webinars covers the area of immune-oncology in the context of pharmacologic and immunologic background, specific agents now approved, and changing practices and outlook for the cancer patient. Webinars developed and taught by Robert Earhart, MD, PhD, Principal Member at Arrowsmith Oncology, LLC.

Single sessions are available for $175.00.
The entire series can be purchased for $800.00.

Session 1 – Pregame Ceremonies: Cancer Biology, Oncology and Immunology

This webinar is an overview of oncology from the perspective of the oncologist and the developer of cancer drugs and is intended for newcomers to the field. After a review of the basic biology of cancer, including oncogenes, signal transduction pathways, the cell cycle, angiogenesis and drug resistance mechanisms, the use of histotype, stage, grade and biomarkers in the assessment of a cancer patient is discussed. This session reviews the immune response, including the innate immune response, adaptive immunity, cells and structures of the immune system, the generation of antigen receptors, signaling through immune receptors, vaccines, the humoral (antibody) response, the cellular response, and methods to manipulate the immune response as clinical treatment.

Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to:
• Discuss the cellular mechanisms that can become deranged and result in malignant disease;
• Understand the general basis for traditional cancer treatments and their side effects;
• Describe the components of the normal innate and adaptive mammalian immune defense systems, how they function, and how they interact.

Session 2 – The Home-Field Advantage: Tumor Immunology

This webinar focuses on the mechanisms by which tumors escape normal immune surveillance. We review the nature of tumor immune surveillance, the “ideal” response of the immune system to cancer, and mechanisms that tumors use to evade surveillance and generate a state of tolerance. New treatments to break this tolerance and allow the immune system to attack the tumor are being developed. We will discuss theoretical approaches, the mechanisms of the new successful agents, selected failures of certain approaches, and ongoing clinical studies in this new area of cancer treatment.

Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to:
• Discuss the mechanisms by which cancer cells can elude or suppress host immune defenses;
• Understand the theory of our recent attempts to develop treatments intended to break tumor-induced immunologic tolerance, including specific examples of clinical trials.

Session 3 – The Starters: Monoclonal Antibodies

The explosive growth of monoclonal antibody products in the past five years requires understanding of their pharmacology and important clinical results. The first part of this session addresses with mAbs that act through ADCC, through growth-factor processes, as mAb-cytotoxin conjugates and as mAb-radioisotope conjugates. The second part covers mAbs that target tumor microenvironment, counteract tolerance mechanisms, or stimulate cell-mediated antitumor effects.

Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to:
• Survey the mechanisms of monoclonal antibody action that have been successfully employed in cancer treatment;
• Describe specific examples of current approved treatments and agents in development that use each mechanism, including results of important clinical trials.

Session 4 – The Deep Bench: Cytokines and Vaccines

This webinar covers the three major categories of cytokines from a pharmacologic and clinical application perspective, and discusses important considerations in the clinical development and use of both preventive and therapeutic vaccines in oncology.

Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to:
• Describe the function of cytokines in relation to their endogenous interactions with other components of the immune system, and the clinical use of exogenous cytokine-based treatments;
• Understand the differences between prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination strategies, as well as the components of the immune response that are subject to manipulations that enhance the desired effects.

Session 5 – The Bull Pen: Targeted Small Molecules

This webinar surveys small molecules used as drugs that target oncogene-related abnormalities in cancer cells. The content focuses on agents that have recently achieved regulatory approval based on clinical trial successes.

Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to:
• Understand the pharmacology and clinical uses of the targeted small molecules that have recently become part of the oncologist’s arsenal;
• Understand the potential role of these personalized treatments in combination with immunologic-based approaches.

Session 6 – The New Rule Book: Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics of Biologicals

Biological therapeutic proteins require special considerations from a pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics perspective. Certain characteristics are shared by large polypeptides such as cytokines, but monoclonal antibodies present particular challenges based on immunogenicity, IgG recycling processes and target-mediated drug distribution. Finally, we discuss how the therapeutic effects of mAbs that alter tumor microenvironment can influence the pharmacokinetics of low-molecular-weight cytotoxic agents.

Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to:
• Describe the special pharmacodynamic considerations that may dictate the optimal use of immuno-oncology treatments;
• Understand the pharmacokinetic factors that may influence the outcome of immuno-oncologic interventions, and the ways immuno-oncologic treatments may influence the pharmacokinetics of small molecules in combination regimens for cancer treatment.