PIERRE GOLSTEIN - By studying the mechanisms of cell death induced by immune system cells, Pierre Golstein and his team have identified several proteins that are now being talked about! This is particularly the case of the CTLA-4 protein, now targeted in certain cancer immunotherapy strategies. In 1987, Pierre Golstein and his team were looking for the "weapons" used by certain immune system cells to kill harmful cells circulating in the body, when they discovered the CTLA-4 protein. Years later, James Allison developed a therapeutic approach based on the inhibition of this protein's activity – immunotherapy. Its development was rewarded by the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018. He is currently Inserm research director emeritus and has worked at the Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML) since its creation in 1976.
Immunotherapy & Luck (#43)
1 Aix-Marseille Université , Centre d'Immunologie, Marseille, France
As many significant advances, immunotherapy (here limited to antibodies against inhibitory checkpoints ; CAR-T cells will be dealt with separately) started by chance findings. This was the case for both CTLA-4 and PD-1. What led to the discovery of these molecules will be described, as well as the following chain of results leading to the realization that they were inhibitory checkpoints, and finally leading to the corresponding therapeutic antibodies. Some of the many further developments to improve this therapy will be briefly mentioned. A conclusion will emphasize the role of luck.
Keywords: immunotherapy, antibodies, inhibitory checkpoints