Our first question for Dr. Hamid is:
Tell us about checkpoint inhibitors – what they are and how they work?
Dr. Hamid: Sure. Checkpoint inhibitors are the body’s way of activating or inactivating the immune system. Checkpoint proteins tell the immune system what to do. So, the signals can up-regulate an immune response so that they are activating checkpoints or down-regulate an immune response. Those are inhibiting checkpoints. So, checkpoint inhibitors are also known as “immune checkpoint modulators”. They are designed to lessen the effectiveness of these checkpoint proteins that are on immune cells or tumor cells.
As we have recognized, these interactions between these checkpoint proteins located on tumors and on immune cells down-regulate or dampen our immune systems. By making these checkpoint inhibitors, we can block the interactions and release the suppression of the immune system.
Our bodies should be able to eliminate cancer. Unfortunately, the complex relationships with the body’s immune system and the body’s immune response is not always the best at eliminating cancer cells. The key reason is that these tumors can create an immunosuppressive environment. When normal cells change into cancer cells they can up-regulate these checkpoint proteins and evade the body’s surveillance.
Dr. Hamid will be presenting The Promise of PD1 Checkpoint Inhibition for Multiple Solid Tumors on Wednesday, December 10 at the Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics event. For more information on his session and the rest of the program, download the agenda. As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XD14172BLOGJP, you can save 20% off the standard rate.
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