IMMUNOLOGY 2016™ Report

Some of us just got back from IMMUNOLOGY 2016™ that was held in Seattle, Washington, from May 13-17. This year IMMUNOLOGY 2016™ had the record highest number of attendees (about 4,000) and it was also the 100th anniversary of JI (Journal of Immunology). The conference was a great opportunity to find out about the latest and hottest research interests in the field, meet and socialize with peers, and learn about the newest products from different companies.

Picture courtesy of IMMUNOLOGY 2016™
As with all conferences, there were a lot of very exciting meetings, talks, and poster sessions going on concurrently on all the days. Although we were at our BioLegend booth for most of the time, some of us also had the opportunity of attending a few lectures. From the ones we attended, it seemed chemokines and chemokine receptors, and immunotherapy were the hot topics this year. The AAI-Steinman Award for Human Immunology Research Presentation and Lecture went to Lieping Chen from the Yale School of Medicine. The title of his research presentation was “PD-1/PD-L1 blockade therapy for human cancer: past, present and future”. He described the discovery of antibodies against immune checkpoints. The first one was against 4-1BB and from there, he moved on to other molecules, including PD-1 and PD-L1.
Immune Checkpoint Receptors
One of the Major Symposiums was about “Unconventional T Cells and Innate-Like Lymphocytes” where Dale I. Godfrey, University of Melbourne, talked about “The development and diversity of MR1-restricted MAIT cells”. MAIT cells (Mucosal associated invariant T cell) are an innate-like T-cell population that play a role in fighting bacterial infections. In humans, MAIT are about 10% of CD8+ T cells in blood and even more abundant at mucosal surfaces and liver. They express the Vα7.2-Jα33/12/20 T cell receptor and are restricted to the MHC-related protein MR1. In this talk, the author found that there are three stages of MAIT development, and the transcription factor PLZF is involved in controlling these stages. They also used a bivariate plot, CD24 vs CD44, to identify the three stages (CD24+CD44- is stage 1, CD24-CD44- stage 2, CD24-CD44+ stage 3). The CD24 vs CD44 plot wasdone after previously selecting positive cells for CD161 and Tetramers specific for their TCR.
Toy Story, Pixar Animation Studios.
Another interesting talk was about generating hybrid Th1/Th17 Cells to fight cancer. The author, Shilpak Chatterjee from Med. Univ. of South Carolina, had artificially induced Th cells that had a mixed phenotype between Th1 and Th17 and they were more effective in fighting a melanoma cancer model.
There was a lot of interest in Neuro/CNS immunology as well. The block symposium about “Emerging Treatment Approaches in CNS Autoimmunity” had several talks about different targets for CNS autoimmunity. One of them discussed the efficacy of anti-MAdCAM-1 therapy and how the therapeutic dose does not affect the immune surveillance in the CNS, or more specifically, the number or composition of leukocytes in the patient CNS. Another talk by S.A. Nalwade from University of Texas, San Antonio, focused on MIF inhibition as a novel treatment for autoimmune myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). In these types of diseases, it has been observed that immunosuppressive treatments such as corticosteroids (CSs) have not been very effective in preventing myocarditis and its progression to DCM. Using the autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) animal model, the authors found that MIF knockout mice treated with Dexamethasone (Dex) were highly resistant to EAM and progression to DCM. Upon investigation of the mechanism, they found that treatment with MIF inhibitors and Dex decreased the expression of key chemokines and adhesion molecules and established the important role of MIF in the progression of EAM to DCM.
I'm Crazy Because I'm On Prednisone. What's Your Cause?
There were also discussions about “Metabolism and Immune Regulation in Tumor Therapy”. The talks in this block symposium included the role of fatty acid metabolism in anti-tumor T cell function, and the role of leptin in anti-tumor immunity amongst others. Curtis Clark from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, discussed how tumor B7-H1 (PD-L1) in B16 melanoma and ID8agg ovarian cancer regulates tumor growth by using B7-H1lo and B7-H1hicell lines and studying both in vitro and in vivo effects in NSG immunodeficient mice. Also, by using mTOR inhibitor Rapamycin and autophagy inhibitors chloroquine and 3-methyladenine, they established the role of B7-H1 in mTOR and autophagy regulation.
Its not me, its my low leptin
BioLegend conducted its own workshop titled “Time to GoInVivo™, validated checkpoint functional antibodies for cancer research”. Our scientists used our GoInVivo™ antibodies to characterize a B16 melanoma cancer model. They looked at distribution of T cells during cancer growth and treatment with anti-PD-L1 and Tim3 antibodies. They observed that the cells changed the ratio and distribution in response to the treatment and they also produced more IFN-γ and associated with CD8+ DCs. Antigen-specific CD8+ T cells also expand and the animals are able to control the growth of the tumor.
And finally, we had 3 scientific posters where we talked about our MojoSort™ magnetic separation system, a novel anti-mouse CD20 antibody and its function in B cell depletion, and the transcription factor SPI1’s (PU.1) expression in Dendritic Cells.
MojoSort™ Poster Kinetic B-cell Depletion Poster Differential Expression of SPI1(PU.1) Poster
Check out our scientific posters on our website.
Recipient of the AAI-BioLegend Herzenberg Award: Dr. John F. Kearney, Distinguished Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Picture courtesy of IMMUNOLOGY 2016™. Recipient of the Lefrancois-BioLegend Memorial Award: Michael G. Constantinides, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, NIAID, NIH. Picture courtesy of IMMUNOLOGY 2016™.
Recipients of BioLegend’s Travel Awards: Andrew Borkowski from TSRI (on the right) with our team member, and Jennifer Kielczewski from NIH (not in the picture).

Customers at our BioLegend booth.

Some of our team members at
our booth.

BioLegend team members at the President’s Service Appreciation Reception sponsored by BioLegend.
 
The IMMUNOLOGY 2016™ Gala was held at the EMP (Experience Music Project Museum).
See you next year at IMMUNOLOGY 2017™ in Washington D.C., where we look forward to sponsoring more events. Let us know if you were at this year’s conference and your thoughts by emailing us at tech@biolegend.com.
References:
  1. Anti-MAdCAM-1 therapy does not affect immune surveillance in the central nervous system
  2. PD-L1 (B7-H1) and PD-1 pathway blockade for cancer therapy: Mechanisms, response biomarkers, and combinations
  3. Researchers discover new population of human T cells
  4. Increasing Th1 phenotype in Th17 cells improves anti-tumor T cells function (VAC7P.1032)
  5. Tumor-intrinsic B7-H1 in melanoma and ovarian cancer regulates mTOR, autophagy and tumor growth
Contributed by Mohar Chattopadhyay, PhD.
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