The Annual Symposium of the CPRIT Therapeutic Antibody Core – 2016

December 2, 2016

This is an image of participants at the CPRIT Therapeutic Antibody Core's 2016 annual symposium.

Speakers and participants enjoy a break. Click photo to see more.








The annual symposium of the CPRIT Therapeutic Antibody Core took place on December 1, 2016 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth – Houston). Speakers provided insights into foundations and latest trends in identifying, validating and developing antibody drugs, especially for cancer therapies.

Dr. William Strohl kicked off the event with a keynote talk on current and future trends in antibody therapeutics. Two technologies were highlighted: biospecific antibody platforms and allogeneic CAR-Ts (antibody-based chimeric antigen receptor therapy). Dr. Strohl, a leader in Merck’s efforts to discover therapeutic MAbs and associated technologies, now runs his own consulting company called BiStro Biotech and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Therapeutic Antibody Core.

Following the keynote, speakers addressed a range of targets for cancer therapeutic antibodies. Dr. Linheng Li, Investigator and Professor at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, addressed the issue of targeting cancer stem cells. Then, two researchers presented projects conducted in collaboration with the core. Dr. Alec Zhang, from UT Southwestern, presented his project developing targeting antibodies for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Dr. Jean Jiang, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHealth – San Antonio), spoke about development of a connexin hemichannel targeting antibody for cancer treatment.

After a break, two more major core projects were presented. Development of monoclonal antibodies for blocking ovarian tumor angiogenesis was presented by Dr. Anil Sood of UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Philip Scherer of the Touchstone Diabetes Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center, was represented by Dr. Clair Crewe. Dr. Crewe spoke about monoclonal antibodies for breast cancer treatment. Finally, Dr. Jim Liu, of UTHealth – Houston, spoke about his research on antibodies targeting a pathway highly expressed in many cancers, the RSPO3-LGR4 signaling pathway.

The symposium concluded with presentations by two researchers affiliated with the core presenting technology platforms available to advance therapeutic antibody research programs of core collaborators. First, Dr. Robbie Schultz presented a talk on generating human monoclonal antibodies using scFv phage display . Next, Dr. Kyoji Tsuchikama presented his lab’s recent advances in conjugation and linker chemistries for antibody drug conjugates.

Around a hundred participants had opportunities to network and learn about exciting opportunities for working with core technologies and expertise to advance other research programs.

Attendees included professors, postdocs, and students from Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, the University of Houston, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and the Institute of Biosciences & Technology at Texas A&M Health Science Center, among other academic institutions. Key vendors supporting therapeutic antibody core activities were also in attendance, including sponsors Lonza Biologics, RevMAb Biosciences, AbCam, and Sino Biological Inc.