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To date, most immune-modulatory strategies have focused on agents and cell-based therapies developed to enhance T cell immunity. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in harnessing the relatively underexplored natural killer (NK) cell system for therapeutic intervention. A growing number of studies into elucidating NK cell biology, the development of pharmacological and genetic methods to enhance NK cell anti-tumor immunity, and the ability to expand NK cells ex vivo have set the stage for a new generation of cancer immunotherapies.

Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s inaugural NK Cell-Based Cancer Immunotherapy Symposium will convene immuno-oncology researchers, cancer immunotherapy developers, and technology providers to discuss current challenges and opportunities from discovery NK immunooncology to clinical studies, share latest technologies and development approaches, as well as to provide updates on preclinical, clinical, and combination studies.

Final Agenda


• September 19 Symposium: NK Cell-Based Cancer Immunotherapy

• September 20-21 Conference: Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets - Part 1

• September 21-22 Conference: Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets - Part 2

Monday, September 19

7:00 am Registration Open and Morning Coffee


8:30 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Jeffrey Miller, M.D., Professor, Medicine; Deputy Director, Masonic Cancer Center; Roger L. and Lynn C. Headrick Chair in Cancer Therapeutics, University of Minnesota

8:40 Novel Ways to Target and Activate NK Cells to Treat Cancer

Jeffrey Miller, M.D., Professor, Medicine; Deputy Director, Masonic Cancer Center; Roger L. and Lynn C. Headrick Chair in Cancer Therapeutics, University of Minnesota

We have performed a number of clinical trials using NK cell infusions. IL-15, a natural cytokine that is critical for NK cell development and homeostasis, will be discussed. We have recently developed a class of molecules that combine antigen specificity and IL-15’s proliferative activity together into a novel class of multifunction molecules we call trispecific killer engagers (TriKEs). Lastly, we have discovered a new subset of NK cells termed adaptive with properties of immunologic memory induced by cytomegalovirus that mediate potent CD16 signaling.

9:10 Off the Shelf, Engineered Allogeneic Natural Killer Cell Therapeutics: aNK, haNK, taNK

Hans Klingemann, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President, Research & Development, NantKwest, Inc.

NantKwest has developed the NK cell line NK-92 into an “off the shelf” activated NK (aNK) cell therapeutic. The safety of aNK as well as their activity against a broad range of cancers have been confirmed in several Phase I clinical trials in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The aNK cell platform has been bioengineered to incorporate a high-affinity antibody binding Fc-receptor (haNK). Both aNK and haNK cells can be equipped with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) (called taNK) to further optimize targeting and potency in the therapeutic setting.

9:40 The Bispecific CD30/CD16A Antibody AFM13 Induces Strong NK Cell Cytotoxicity towards CD30+ Hodgkin Lymphoma and Is Enhanced by Checkpoint Modulation

Martin Treder, Ph.D., CSO, R&D, Affimed

AFM13 is an NK cell-engaging CD30/CD16A bispecific tetravalent antibody currently in clinical development. While monotherapy with AFM13 was potent itself, significant synergy was observed in the AFM13 and anti-PD-1 combination in vitro, and in in vivo PDX models with human CD30+ HL tumors. Analysis of the tumors revealed a strong correlation between tumor growth inhibition and levels of tumor-infiltrating NK cells, T-cells, myeloid cells and intratumoral cytokines such as IFN-gamma. Based on this, TandAbs targeting EGFR and EGFRvIII were generated.

10:10 Coffee Break


10:40 Harnessing Adaptive NK Cells in Cancer Therapy

Karl-Johan Malmberg, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Cancer Immunology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital

We have recently completed a Phase I/II clinical trial with transfer of haploidentical NK cells to patients with high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome. Six of the 16 treated patients achieved morphological complete remission and five of these underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation resulting in long-term survival in four patients. These results suggest that adoptive transfer of allogeneic NK cells may hold utility as a bridge to transplant in patients who are refractory to induction therapy.

11:10 Update on Systemic and Locoregional Cancer Immunotherapy with IL-21-Expanded NK Cells

Dean Anthony Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Pediatrics; Director, Cellular Therapy and Cancer Immunotherapy Program, Nationwide Children’s Hospital; James Comprehensive Cancer Center/Solove Research Institute, The Ohio State University

We translated our IL-21-based NK cell expansion platform to clinical grade and scale and initiated 7 clinical trials that administer NK cell immunotherapy with high cell doses or repeated dosing in transplant, adjuvant, or stand-alone settings. We will discuss the importance of STAT3 signaling in this setting, describe early outcome and correlative data from these studies, and present preclinical data supporting future clinical trials that build on this platform.

11:40 Sponsored Presentation (Opportunity Available)

12:10 pm Enjoy Lunch on Your Own


1:40 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Karl-Johan Malmberg, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Cancer Immunology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital

1:50 oNKord® - The First Allogeneic, “Off-the-Shelf” NK Cell Product in Oncology

Jan Spanholtz, Ph.D., CSO, Glycostem Therapeutics

Glycostem’s NK cell product (oNKord®) has successfully passed Phase I clinical trial (elderly AML patients) showing safety and biological activities including response on MRD leading to prolonged PFS and OS. These results show that oNKord® can be safely infused in elderly AML patients. After infusion, NK cells repopulate, mature and migrate to bone marrow. The reduction in MRD lead to a sustained CR in elderly AML patients resulting in an improved overall survival (90% after 1 year) for AML patients at this age.

2:20 Potent ex vivo Expanded, Human CD34+ Cord Blood-Derived Natural Killer Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy

Xiaokui Zhang, Ph.D., Director, Research & Development, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics

Celgene Cellular Therapeutics has established a cultivation process to generate human NK cells from umbilical cord blood (UCB) CD34+ cells with substantial cytolytic activity against several human tumor cell lines, primary AML and primary MM cells. A Phase I, multicenter, open-label, dose-escalating safety study of PNK-007 infusion with subcutaneous recombinant human IL-2 in adults with relapsed and/or refractory AML will be discussed.

2:50 Naïve Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: An Ideal Platform for Developing Off-the-Shelf and Genetically Enhanced Natural Killer Cell Adoptive Therapeutics

Bahram (Bob) Valamehr, Ph.D., MBA, Executive Director, Reprogramming Biology, Fate Therapeutics Inc.

Coupling the unique capacity of our naïve human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) technology platform to efficiently facilitate multiple genomic modifications at the single hiPSC level with our ability to accurately recapitulate the stages of early embryonic hematopoiesis towards the definitive program, we demonstrate a viable method for the derivation of engineered hematopoietic cells, including NK cells, from hiPSCs in a highly scalable manner. The hematopoietic cells generated can be successfully cryopreserved and banked.

3:20 Refreshment Break


4:00 Autologous ex vivo Expanded NK Cells for Solid Tumor Immunotherapy

Ali Ashkar, D.V.M., Ph.D., Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster Immunology Research Centre, McMaster University

Recent advances in NK cell expansion and activation have generated renewed interest in adoptive NK cell therapy for cancers. We have expanded NK cells from blood of breast, lung and ovarian cancer patients and have investigated their activities against autologous primary tumor cells. In addition, we have established xenograft models with the primary tumors to study the anti-tumor activities of autologous NK cells against primary tumor cells in vivo. Ex vivo expanded NK cells survive and proliferate in vivo in the presence of autologous PBMCs.

4:30 Novel CARs Introduced into NK Cells Facilitate Potent Tumor Cell Killing that Results in Tumor Regression

Rohit Duggal, Ph.D., Director, Experimental Cellular Therapy, Sorrento Therapeutics

This presentation features an introduction of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which provide homing and specificity to cytotoxic cells of the immune system. Novel CARs isolated from Sorrento’s G-MAB library targeting various tumor antigens will be described. The characterization of the NK cells modified to express these CARs will also be described.

5:00 Understanding of NK Cell Effector Functions: A Single-Cell Lab-on-a-Chip Perspective

Tania Konry, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Northeastern University

Here we present a novel single-cell method of analyzing the mechanisms underlying the cellular interactions of NK cells with multiple myeloma cells. The integrated droplet microfluidics device developed by our group permits compartmentalization of cell pairs and secreted products within sub-nanoliter volumes and thereby controls cell-to-cell communication by limiting it to interactions between the co-encapsulated cells. It allows monitoring of both contact-dependent and contact-independent cellular interactions simultaneously.

5:30 Close of Symposium

* Separate registration required for Short Courses, Symposia, Training Seminar

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Final Agenda Now Available

Final Agenda Now Available









The exhibit hall was sold out in 2015, so please contact us early to reserve your place. To customize your sponsorship or exhibit package for 2016, contact:

Jon Stroup
Sr. Business Development Manager






Next-Generation Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors

Strategies for Tackling Rare Genetic Diseases

Understanding CRISPR: Mechanisms and Applications

Autoimmunity – Small Molecule Approaches

NK Cell-Based Cancer Immunotherapy



Targeting Histone Methyltransferases and Demethylases

Targeting the Ubiquitin Proteasome System

Targeting the Microbiome
– Part 1

GPCR-Based Drug Discovery - Part 1

Advances in Gene Editing and Gene Silencing – Part 1

Gene Therapy Breakthroughs

Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets – Part 1

Targeting Cardio-Metabolic Diseases

Targeting Ocular Disorders


Targeting Epigenetic Readers and Chromatin Remodelers

Kinase Inhibitor Discovery

Targeting the Microbiome
– Part 2

GPCR-Based Drug Discovery - Part 2

Advances in Gene Editing and Gene Silencing – Part 2

Translating Cancer Genomics

Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets – Part 2

Metabolomics in Drug Discovery

TRAINING SEMINAR: Data Visualization


Monday, September 19
8:00 - 11:00 am

(SC1) Immunology Basics for Chemists

(SC2) Designing Peptide Therapeutics for Specific PPIs

(SC3) Phenotypic Screening and Chemical Probe Development

(SC4) Medical Dermatology Therapeutic R&D and Technical Innovation - Part 1

Monday, September 19
2:00 - 3:00 pm

(SC5) GPCR Structure-Based Drug Discovery

(SC6) RNA as a Small Molecule Drug Target

(SC7) Using IP Landscape Studies to Improve Your Confidence

(SC8) Medical Dermatology Therapeutic R&D and Technical Innovation - Part 2

Monday, September 19
3:30 - 6:30 pm

(SC9) Targeting of GPCRs with Monoclonal Antibodies

(SC10) Introduction to Targeted Covalent Inhibitors

(SC11) Contact Lens Drug Delivery Systems

(SC12) Introduction to Gene Editing

Monday, September 19
7:00 - 9:30 pm

(SC13) Convergence of Immunotherapy and Epigenetics for Cancer Treatment

Wednesday, September 21
7:00 - 9:30 pm

(SC14) Cancer Metabolism: Pathways, Targets and Clinical Updates

(SC15) Introduction to Allosteric Modulators and Biased Ligands of GPCRs

(SC16) Functional Screening Strategies Using CRISPR and RNAi

(SC17) Challenges and Opportunities in DNA Methyl Transferase (DNMT) Inhibitors as Therapeutics