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Checkpoint blockade – understanding mechanisms, unlocking new approaches

IET Birmingham: Austin Court, Birmingham, UK


The BSI Tumour Immunology Affinity Group is excited to celebrate its relaunch with an inaugural one-day meeting in Birmingham on Wednesday 23 March 2022.

Immune checkpoint blockade has been making headlines for several years, transforming therapy for a range of previously untreatable advanced cancers. 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. Our Tumour Immunology Affinity Group has 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. 

Prizes awarded to best poster presentations!

Please follow us on Twitter @BSI_TumourImm and @bsicongress to stay up to date and join the conversation using #CheckpointBlockade2022.

All BSI events will continue to prioritise the health and safety of our members, delegates and staff in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please read our COVID-19 guidance here.

Abstract submission

Abstract submission is now closed. If you have any queries, please contact


View the full programme

View the abstracts

09:30–10:00 | Registration & refreshments

10:00–10:15 | Introduction – Professor Gary Middleton, University of Birmingham

Session 1: Molecular mechanisms of immune checkpoints 
Chairs: Dr Seth Coffelt, University of Glasgow​ and Dr Nekisa Zakeri, University College London
10:15–10:45 | Professor Simon Davis, University of Oxford 
                         Understanding immune-checkpoint antibodies better
10:45–11:15 | Professor Jannie Borst, Leiden University 
                         Optimizing CTL responses against cancer by CD27 costimulation and CD4+ T cell help
11:15–11:45 | Dr Mihaela Lorger, University of Leeds
                          Immunotherapy in brain metastases
11:45–12:15| Poster presentations  

12:15–13:00 | Lunch, poster presentations + exhibitors 

Session 2: Tumour genetics and microenvironment influencing checkpoint blockade
Chairs: Professor Benjamin Willcox, University of Birmingham and Dr Sarah Lauder, Cardiff University  ​
13:00–13:30 | Dr Ping-Chih Ho, University of Lausanne
                         What tumor-residing​ Tregs eat makes them strong but vulnerable
13:30–14:00 | Dr Shoba Amarnath, University of Newcastle
                          Programmed Cell Death-1 receptor mediated regulation of Innate Lymphoid cells within
                           the tumour microenvironment

14:00–14:30 | Professor 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 | Dr Kevin Litchfield, University College London
                          Learnings from multi-omics analysis of thousands of checkpoint blockade treated patients:
                          biomarkers and novel targets

15:00–15:30 | Refreshment break

Session 3: Novel therapeutics and combinations
Chairs: Dr Eileen Parkes, University of Oxford and Dr Livingstone Fultang, University of Birmingham
15:30–16:00 | Dr Matilde Saggese, Achilles Therapeutics
                           Precision T cell therapy to treat solid tumors in monotherapy and in combination with
                            immune checkpoint inhibitors

16:00–16:30 | Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite, University of Manchester
                           Overcoming resistance to T cell approaches in solid tumours with checkpoint inhibitors
16:30–17:00 | Professor Gary Middleton, University of Birmingham
                          The DyNAMics of TIGIT - biology and biomarkers

17:00–18:00 | Networking reception


Registration is open. BSI members benefit from reduced registration fees at this meeting and other BSI events, as well as free access to our journals, grants, bursaries and much more. You can sign up to become a member online.

Click here to register online.

BSI member rate
Full & Early Careers £30
Postgraduate (including PhD, Masters)  £20
Concessionary (includes parental leave, career breaks, retired, emeritus retired) £20
Undergraduate (membership included) £10
Non-member rate
Full & Early Careers £50
Postgraduate (including PhD, Masters) £35
Concessionary (includes parental leave, career breaks, retired, emeritus retired) £35

BSI grants to support your attendance at this event

As part of our career development package, we have two grants available to BSI members to support your attendance at this event. 

  • BSI Regional and Affinity Group Conference Grants - BSI members can apply for up to £100 to contribute towards their travel costs in attending this conference. In this scheme, we have 10 grants available for this conference and they will be allocated on a first come, first served basis to eligible BSI members. Deadline: Wednesday 2 March. Find out more and apply >
  • BSI Regional and Affinity Group Carers' Grants - BSI members can apply for up to £100 to contribute towards extra care arrangements costs they incur during the conference, for example, childcare costs, or for additional care for the applicant themselves during the conference. Deadline: Wednesday 2 March. Find out more and apply 

Thank you to our sponsors

If you are interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at this event, please contact our Head of Events, Jane Sessenwein, for more details.