Prof Han Chong Toh Deputy Medical Director, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) Associate Professor at the Cancer & Stem Cell Biology Program and SingHealth-Duke Global Health Institute, Duke-NUS
T cells or not T cells for Solid Tumours - That Is The Question
Cancer immunotherapy has joined the pillars of cancer treatment – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy – in improving patient lives across an increasing number of cancers. In the last five years, the development of immune checkpoint inhibitor and T cell therapy, particularly chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy which received FDA approval for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, have been remarkable for the speed, scale and number of drug approvals. However, the efficacy of CAR T cell therapy remains limited against solid tumours in large part because of the immunosuppressive hypoxic tumour microenvironment. But new generations of CAR T cells to circumvent these barriers keeps the field exciting and optimistic. Virus-specific T cells and tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) continue to show benefit even against advanced solid tumours. In addition, there has been a revival of interest in therapeutic cancer vaccines with the exciting early clinical results of neoantigen vaccines, and the discovery of these neoantigens have also facilitated more precise and potentially efficacious TILs therapy. Another source of cellular therapy including autologous and allogeneic NK cells, and the rare population of gamma delta T cells. We will elaborate on some of the work we are doing in the areas mentioned.
BIO Dr Toh Han Chong is Deputy Medical Director, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Associate Professor at the Cancer & Stem Cell Biology Program and SingHealth-Duke Global Health Institute, Duke-NUS. Dr Toh completed his International Baccalaureate Diploma at the Lester B. Pearson United World College in British Columbia Canada. He graduated from the University of London, UK, with an Intercalated Bachelor of Science in ‘Infection and Immunity’ from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School and qualified as a medical doctor from University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Dr Toh obtained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 2003. He received his medical oncology fellowship training at the Singapore General Hospital, and at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. He then completed a research fellowship in cancer immunotherapy at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA. Dr Toh received the National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award 2018 for developing and building a cancer immunotherapy programme in Singapore. Dr Toh is founding chairman of the Singapore Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium, founding Chief Medical Officer of Tessa Therapeutics Ltd and on the Cancer Immunotherapy faculty of the European Society of Medical Oncology. He leads a National Large Collaborative Grant on virus-driven cancers prevalent in Asia. He has published over 110 peer review papers including in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, Nature Genetics, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Hepatology, Molecular Therapy, Clinical Cancer Research and Cancer Gene Therapy.