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Science Magazine – AAAS 

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Stem Cells 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

7:30-8:15 am Breakfast Presentation or Morning Coffee

(Sponsorship Opportunity Available. Contact Carol Dinerstein, Director, Business Development, at 781-972-5471 or dinerstein@healthtech.com)


Targeting Cancer Stem Cells

8:25-8:30 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Markus H. Frank, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Dermatology, Harvard Medical School; Associate Physician, Brigham & Women's Hospital Transplantation Research Center, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston

8:30-9:00 Targeting Cancer Stem Cells

Markus H. Frank, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Dermatology, Harvard Medical School; Associate Physician, Brigham & Women’s Hospital Transplantation Research Center, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston

Cancer stem cells represent subpopulations of cancer cells that drive tumor initiation and metastatic progression based on selective prolonged self-renewal capacity. Cancer stem cells have been identified in diverse human malignancies, and specific roles of these virulent subpopulations have been documented in tumorigenic growth, metastatic dissemination, therapeutic resistance, and malignant recurrence. Recent findings have provided pre-clinical proof-of-concept for the potential therapeutic utility of the cancer stem cell concept. Therefore, cancer stem cell-directed therapeutic approaches represent promising novel strategies to improve clinical cancer therapy.

9:00-9:30 Targeting Telomerase in Cancer Stem Cells and Cancer Progenitor Cells

Ning Go, Ph.D., Associate Director, Translational Oncology, Geron Corp.

Telomerase expression is upregulated in cancer cells and particularly in the progenitor cell subcompartment of tumors. Inhibition of telomerase with a 13mer oligonucleotide (imetelstat, GRN163L) can numerically reduce the stem cell compartment of tumors and inhibit clonogenic growth in vitro and in vivo. Phase I studies have been completed and Phase II studies are underway in NSCLC, breast cancer, myeloma and myeloproliferative diseases.

9:30-10:00 Development of New Anti-Cancer Therapeutics that Reduce Tumor-Initiating Cell Frequency

Tim Hoey, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Cancer Biology, OncoMed

Cancer stem cells (or tumor-initiating cells) mediate tumor progression, metastasis and recurrence after therapy. We have developed new agents that block key CSC pathways including Notch and Wnt. Currently, we have three therapeutic antibodies which are in clinical testing, anti-DLL4, anti-Notch2/3, and anti-FZD, and others in pre-clinical development. These treatments inhibit tumor growth through multiple mechanisms and reduce CSC frequency.

10:00-10:45 Networking Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing 

10:45-11:15 Targeting Cancer Stem Cells with Therapeutic Antibodies

Robert Hollingsworth, Ph.D., Director, Cancer Biology, MedImmune, Inc.

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are drivers for many cancer types, and may be responsible for resistance to current therapies and relapse. As such, they represent a promising new target for anticancer drug development. At MedImmune, we have developed several new models and methods to study CSCs, and are using these to discover new therapeutic antibodies. For instance, we have established a novel assay for tracking CSCs within cell populations that obviates the need to isolate them. These approaches, as well as several additional challenges that must be addressed in targeting CSCs, will be described.

11:15-11:45 Identification of Novel Antibody Targets on Cancer Stem Cells in Hematological Malignancies

Robert Tressler, Ph.D., Vice President, Research & Development, Cellerant Therapeutics

Key obstacles to the treatment of cancer are disease recurrence that is resistant to treatment. These aspects are driven by a subset of cells present in cancers called cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs have tumor-initiating and metastatic potential and divide asymmetrically, with one daughter cell having high proliferative capacity and typically is sensitive to antiproliferative agents, while the other daughter cell is quiescent and resistant to standard debulking agents. Agents that can eradicate the quiescent CSC are needed to better target CSCs. An antibody-based approach to select antigen targets expressed on both proliferating and quiescent CSCs is a potentially promising approach to accomplish this. The isolation of CSCs from solid tumor malignancies for target discovery has been difficult, while the presence of CSCs of true stem cell origin is better characterized in hematological cancers. We have enriched CSCs from hematological malignancies for target discovery and have identified targets that are specific and selective in their expression on CSCs versus normal stem cells. Monoclonal antibodies selective for AML patient CSCs with cell-killing potential in vitro have been characterized and have shown efficacy in vivo in AML tumor models.

11:45-12:15 pm Characterization of the Tumor Cell Populations Responsible for Chemoresistance and Relapse in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Erica Jackson, Ph.D., Scientist, Cancer Targets, Genentech


12:15-12:45 Therapeutic Antibodies Targeting Colon Cancer Stem Cells

Peter Chu, Ph.D., CEO, Eclipse Therapeutics

Eclipse Therapeutics is dedicated to the discovery and development of therapeutics that target cancer stem cells (CSCs). Eclipse has a therapeutic antibody program that targets a high value cancer stem cell target overexpressed in multiple solid tumors. Eclipse is also developing a CSC screening strategy to discover additional functional therapeutic antibodies that inhibit CSCs. This cancer stem cell screen is effective because it combines key aspects of CSC biology and therapeutic antibody drug development in a unique manner. This presentation will discuss Eclipse’s cancer stem cell therapeutic antibody program and provide insights on the development of effective, functional antibodies targeting cancer stem cells.

12:45 Close of Conference

Group Discounts are Available! Register a group of 2 or more and save up to 30%. For details, contact David Cunningham at 781-972-5472.