|Dr Sergio Quezada
UCL Cancer Institute,
Dr Sergio Quezada is a Professorial Research Fellow and Group Leader at UCL Cancer Institute in London where he heads the Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Laboratory. Prior to this, Dr Quezada worked with Dr James Allison at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center studying the mechanisms governing anti-tumour T-cell immunity, and how these mechanisms can be manipulated for the generation of potent anti-tumour immune responses.
Dr Quezada’s research interest at UCL remains focused in the study of the mechanism of action of anti-CTLA-4, anti-PD-1 and other immune-modulatory antibodies targeting co-inhibitory and co-stimulatory pathways (including ICOS, 4-1BB, OX-40) and used as novel anticancer therapies. His group has particular interest in the evolution of the immune response to cancer, the impact of immune-modulatory antibodies in the fate and function of tumour reactive T cells, and the role that the tumour microenvironment plays in the response and resistance to such therapies.
In the last years, through a number of clinical collaborations, his team gained significant expertise in the characterization and interrogation of the immune function within the microenvironment of different human cancers including melanoma, lung and kidney cancers.
They expect their work to contribute to:
Dr Quezada is a Cancer Research UK Career Development fellow and the recipient of a Cancer Research Institute investigator Award and Dartmouth’s John W. Strohbern Medal for excellence in biomedical research.
|Dr Padmanee Sharma
MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA
Dr. Padmanee Sharma is an oncologist and immunologist whose research work is focused on investigating mechanisms and pathways within the immune system that are responsible for tumor rejection and clinical benefit. She enrolled in the M.D./Ph.D. program at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in 1991. Her pre-doctoral work consisted of studies in a transgenic mouse model system of a non-classical MHC molecule known as the thymus leukemia antigen. She graduated with both her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in 1998, then completed an internal medicine residency at New York Hospital Cornell University and a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Sharma spent her fellowship studying tumor antigens expressed on bladder cancers, identifying NY-ESO-1 as an immunogenic antigen that is highly expressed on bladder tumors. She earned the ASCO Young Investigator Award in 2003 investigating the types of immune responses that could be elicited after bladder cancer patients received a full-length NY-ESO-1 protein vaccine on a phase I clinical trial.
Dr. Sharma was appointed at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as an assistant professor in Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology in 2004. Her studies became focused on the novel immunotherapeutic agent anti-CTLA-4. She was interested in understanding human immune responses elicited in tumor tissues and systemic circulation after patients received treatment with anti-CTLA-4. Dr. Sharma was awarded the MD Anderson Physician Scientist Award in 2005 and ASCO Career Development Award in 2006 in order to pursue her studies with anti-CTLA-4. She designed and conducted the first pre-surgical clinical trial with anti-CTLA-4 in bladder cancer patients and was the first to report an increase in the frequency of T cells expressing the inducible costimulator (ICOS) molecule within tumor tissues and blood after patients were treated with anti-CTLA-4. She showed that ICOS+ T cells consisted of a subset of effector cells that could recognize the NY-ESO-1 tumor antigen expressed on patients’ tumors and used mouse models to demonstrate that ICOS and its ligand (ICOSL) are necessary for optimal anti-tumor responses mediated by anti-CTLA-4. Her studies allowed her to compete successfully for the Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award in 2008 and the American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant in 2009. In 2010, she was promoted to associate professor with tenure and then two years later became the scientific director of the Immunotherapy Platform in 2012. As of 2014, she is now a full tenured professor in both the Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology departments at MD Anderson Cancer Center. This year she accepted the position of co-director with Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is currently the principal investigator of several immunotherapy clinical trials that allow her to further explore immune responses and pathways critical for eliciting anti-tumor responses and clinical benefit in cancer patients. She has independent funding consisting of a DOD Idea Development Award (2010), a CPRIT Individual Investigator Award (2011), an NIH/NCI R01 grant (2012) and an AACR-CRI-SU2C Immunology grant (2013).