Patients dealing with cancers that have resisted immuno-oncology (I-O) therapies potentially have a new treatment option on the horizon. More than a decade after the first checkpoint inhibitor raised hopes, next-generation investigational I-O is lighting up clinics with long-sought encouraging results against the persistent “cold” tumors involved in colorectal, lung, pancreatic, and other cancers. Dr. Steven O’Day, Chief Medical Officer of Agenus, played a key role in developing the first I-O therapy and is even more optimistic today. He will be joined by clinicians and a patient advocate.
Designed for oncologists, patient advocates, clinicians, and others tracking the progress of I-O research, the discussion will illuminate:
Dr. Steven O’Day serves as Agenus’ Chief Medical Officer. He leads the expansion of the company’s presence in the immuno-oncology (IO) field, in which he is a globally recognized pioneer. Dr. O’Day played key roles in the advancement of the IO-based cancer therapies ipilimumab and nivolumab, the first approved checkpoint inhibitors, and has been the principal investigator in more than 200 clinical trials. Prior to joining Agenus, he was Executive Director of the John Wayne Cancer Institute and Cancer Clinics at Providence St. John’s Health Center, and Director of the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Research Center. Dr. O’Day was a visiting scholar in philosophy and medical ethics at Oxford, received his MD from Johns Hopkins, and was a Fellow at the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.
Phuong Gallagher is a 16-year stage IV rectal cancer patient. During the course of her cancer journey, she has seen incredible change and progress made in cancer therapies and was inspired to do more as an advocate. Ms. Gallagher is the Research Advocate Training & Support (RATS) Program Manager for Fight Colorectal Cancer, working with the organization’s advocates to represent the voices of the colorectal cancer community in research.
Dr. Pashtoon Kasi is the Director for Colorectal Cancer Research at Weill Cornell Medicine and a practicing oncologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He focuses on treating patients with gastrointestinal cancers, using novel drugs in early-phase clinical trials. He also is the Director for Liquid Biopsy Research at Weill Cornell’s Englander Institute for Precision Medicine. Dr. Kasi is the lead or contributing author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, and a frequent speaker at medical and research conferences. Previously, Dr. Kasi held academic and hospital appointments at the University of Iowa and at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Kasi’s work has been featured in local and national media, including coverage in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Schlechter is Senior Physician in Gastrointestinal Cancers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute with a particular focus on colorectal cancer, anal cancer, and innovative immunotherapies. He previously worked in the laboratory of Dr. Carol L. Rosenberg at Boston University School of Medicine and Dr. Donald E. Ingber at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Dr. Schlechter is a former member of the faculty of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as well as the former Director of Inpatient Hematology and Oncology there. He is an active participant in investigator-initiated, cooperative group, and industry funded clinical trials in GI malignancies. He currently focuses on the development of novel approaches to immunotherapy in GI cancers generally and colorectal cancer in particular. He is the Harvard-wide principal investigator of four cellular therapy trials for GI cancers as well as trials involving checkpoint inhibitors and novel chemotherapies.
Surani Fernando is a seasoned healthcare journalist and editor with over 13 years experience covering the biopharma industry. A Sydney native, she started her investigative journalism career in London covering clinical trials, M&A and financing deals for BioPharm Insight, later moving to New York to continue her work as an enterprise journalist and editorial leader for GlobalData and Reorg. She is now based in Madrid working as a freelance journalist, consultant writer and podcast producer.