A false color image of deeply shaded cancer cells surrounded by normal tissue


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David J. Pinato

What we do

The overarching aim of the Developmental Therapeutics Programme at Imperial is to accelerate the development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer by studying the functional characteristics of the tumour and the associated microenvironment as a method to guide the design of early-phase clinical studies.

Why it is important

After decades of scepticism, therapeutic reversal of immune-exhaustion with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have been shown to improve survival outcomes across a widening range of malignancies. However, the clinical development of immune-based therapies has, for most oncological indications, remained poorly guided by clear predictive correlates of response.

How it can benefit patients

However, only 20% of patients will respond, and stratifying biomarkers are urgently required to spare patients from potentially life-threatening toxicity (i.e auto-immune hepatitis, pneumonitis) in the absence of clinical benefit.

Summary of current research

The developmental therapeutics research programme led by Dr David James Pinato has, since its inception, led to the delivery of a portfolio of highly complex, first-in-class multi-centre studies aimed at the qualification of novel anti-cancer therapeutics with a particular emphasis on anti-cancer immunotherapy. The programme has attracted >£2 million of commercial and charitable funding and resulted in high-impact research publications in the field (JCO, JAMA Oncology). The programme is supported by the ICHT Cancer Theme and the NIHR Research Facility.