George Prendergast, PhD, CEO and President of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), is scheduled to speak at three prestigious conferences this spring
A world-renowned specialist in cancer immunotherapy research, Dr. Prendergast presented at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Symposium on Immuno-Oncology in Redwood City, Calif., that was held April 14. His topic was IDO inhibitors, a new class of experimental drugs, originally discovered at Lankenau, that degrade immune barricades erected by tumors, thereby helping unleash a patient’s native immune capabilities to attack and eradicate tumor cells. IDO enzymes in the body act to regulate the immune system, but tumors hijack them to evade attack. Therefore, suppressing (or inhibiting) the action of IDO enzymes offers a new kind of therapy that empowers the immune system rather than attacking tumors directly. As originally demonstrated by Lankenau scientists, IDO inhibitors appear to improve the anticancer properties of many types of cancer therapy, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy. At the Symposium, Dr. Prendergast presented some of the latest work being done at LIMR on how IDO drives cancer and how a related enzyme with which it may work—called IDO2 (discovered at LIMR)—impacts not only cancer, but autoimmune disease.
Dr. Prendergast will also deliver a plenary lecture on IDO inhibitors at the 14th Annual Meeting of the Association of Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) in Mainz, Germany, on May 10-12. The annual CIMT meeting is Europe’s largest gathering of health care professionals who are focused on cancer immunotherapy research and development. At this venue, his talk will highlight the discovery of new biomarkers that may inform the clinical use of IDO inhibitors to treat cancer, including IDO2, which naturally varies in human individuals and may impact therapeutic responses in clinical trials.
Lastly, Dr. Prendergast will speak at the April 21 gathering of the Caltech Biotechnology Club in Pasadena, Calif. He will introduce LIMR’s unique “acapreneurial” model of biomedical research, which harvests invention efficiently by combining elements of academic basic and clinical science with biotechnology entrepreneurialism in the same facility. In this model, which aims at a “Bell Labs of Bioscience” strategy, investigators advance knowledge in the traditional academic manner, but with a more practical focus on inventions and product development candidates from every research group. Using this model, LIMR has developed a significant experimental drug and device pipeline and advanced a host of new biomedical product candidates into clinical testing—including, most notably, IDO inhibitors.
Dr. Prendergast, who has expertise in the preclinical discovery and development of molecular therapeutics, is the author or co-author of more than 200 publications and holds more than 35 U.S. and international patents. In addition to his role at LIMR, Dr. Prendergast also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the medical journal Cancer Research, the most highly cited publication in the field.