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Checkpoint blockade – understanding mechanisms, unlocking new approaches

IET Birmingham: Austin Court, 80 Cambridge Street, Birmingham, West Midlands B1 2NP

The BSI Tumour Immunology Group are excited to celebrate the relaunch of this Affinity Group with an inaugural high quality one-day meeting on Thursday 19 March 2020 at Austin Court Birmingham.

Immune checkpoint blockade has been making headlines for several years, transforming therapy for a range of previously untreatable advanced cancers. However, although some factors linked with improved responses are known, our understanding of the science underlying this approach is emphatically incomplete, and many patients do not respond to therapy, or experience serious side effects. The BSI Tumour Immunology Group have worked hard to put together a strong programme, focussing on exploring the fascinating and diverse immune axes that link with the checkpoint blockade concept.

In addition to providing a brief clinical perspective on current checkpoint blockade therapy, the range of speakers will explore the fundamental receptor-ligand systems involved in checkpoint blockade, key cellular subsets and regulatory axes, how the tumour and its microenvironment influence checkpoint blockade, followed by novel therapy developments in the checkpoint blockade area, including combination approaches and neoantigen reactive T cell therapy. The day will end with a networking session to bring together attendees from all stages of the therapeutic pathway, from basic scientists to translational clinicians and industry partners. 


09:30​–​10:00​ Welcome refreshments

10:00–10:15 Introduction Gary Middleton (University of Birmingham)

First session – Molecular mechanisms of checkpoint blockade
10:15–10:45 Simon Davis (University of Oxford) - Understanding immune-checkpoint antibodies better
10:45–11:15 Jannie Borst (Leiden University) - Optimizing CTL responses against cancer by CD27 costimulation and CD4+ T cell help
11:15–11:45 Sergio Quezada (University College London) - Targeting regulatory T cells in cancer: from mechanisms to new therapies

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

Second session – Tumour genetics and microenvironment influencing checkpoint blockade
13:00–13:30 Ping-Chih Ho (University of Lausanne) - What tumor-residing​ Tregs eat makes them strong but vulnerable
13:30–14:00 Shoba Amarnath (University of Newcastle) - Programmed Cell Death-1 receptor mediated regulation of Innate Lymphoid cells within the tumour microenvironment
14:00–14:30 David Withers (University of Birmingham) - Temporal in vivo labelling models to determine how immune cells change once within the tumour microenvironment
14:30–15:00 Nicholas McGranahan (University College London) - Lung cancer evolution and immune escape

15:00 – 15:30 Break

Third session – Novel therapeutics and combinations
15:30–16:00 Jane Robertson (Achilles Therapeutics) - Clonal neoantigen reactive T cell products and their investigation in clinical trials
16:00–16:30 Juliet Gray (University of Southampton) - Checkpoint blockade in paediatric cancers – how can success be achieved?
16:30–17:00 Gary Middleton (University of Birmingham)

17:00​–18:15​ Finish and refreshments with networking


Delegates are invited to submit abstracts for poster presentation. The abstract submission deadline is Thursday 20 February 2020. Please submit your abstract (max. 250 words) using this Google doc form.


Registration is now open. You can join the BSI online - membership provides many benefits to help you progress your career. Undergraduate membership is free. 

 BSI Members
 BSI Member - Full & Early Careers *  £30
 BSI Member - Postgraduate (including PhD, Masters)  £20
 BSI Member - Concessionary **  £20
 Full & Early Careers *  £50
 Postgraduate (including PhD, Masters)  £35
 Concessionary **  £35
 Undergraduate (membership is free)  £10

*  Early careers includes scientists employed as post-doctoral researchers, for the first 5 years post graduation.
** Concessionary includes Parental leave, Career Breaks, Retired, Emeritus Retired.


Our thanks to the following sponsors for supporting this event​.​





If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please email Jane Sessenwein