Thomas Waldmann, Chief, NCI to Give Keynote Talk at Immunodiagnostics & Immunomonitoring Conference

Thomas Waldmann, Chief of Metabolism & Head of Cytokine Immunology/ Immunotherapy at NCI to give keynote presentation at 2nd Immunodiagnostics & Immunomonitoring conference December 6-7, 2007

Monrovia, CA, November 22, 2007 --( Dr. Thomas A. Waldmann, Chief of the Metabolism Branch and Head of Cytokine Immunology and Immunotherapy at the National Cancer Institute will give the Keynote presentation at GTCbio’s 2nd Immunodiagnostics & Immunomonitoring: From Research to Clinic conference on December 6-7, 2007 in Washington D.C.

Dr. Waldmann will present on the contrasting roles of IL-2 and IL-15 in the life and death of lymphocytes with implications for immunotherapy of cancer and autoimmune diseases as well as for vaccine design.

Monoclonal antibodies have come of age with 19 approved by the FDA. IL-2R alpha (CD25) targeted therapy with monoclonal antibodies has provided effective treatment for leukemia, for autoimmune disorders, and for the prevention of allograft rejection.

The effectiveness of monoclonal antibody therapy has been augmented by arming the antibody with radionuclides and by using them in concert with chemotherapeutic agents. IL-2 and IL-15 have shared contrasting roles in the life and death of lymphocytes. IL-2 is involved in the checkpoint control of T-cells that is required for self-tolerance and the prevention of autoimmunity. In contrast, IL-15 favors the survival of NK and CD8 memory T-cells and is thus dedicated to the persistence of an immune response. IL-15 and IL-15R alpha are co-expressed on antigen-presenting cells. IL-15R alpha recycles and presents IL-15 in trans as part of an immunological synapse with neighboring NK and memory phenotype CD8 T-cells. The demonstration that IL-15 is a critical factor for the proliferation, activation and function of NK and memory CD8 T-cells supports its use in the prevention and treatment of cancer and HIV. The optimal use of IL-15 may require the co-administration of agents such as interferon or agonist anti-CD40 to induce the expression of IL-15R alpha. The incorporation of IL-15 in molecular vaccines for cancer and AIDS provides a robust, sustained high-avidity cytotoxic T-cell immune response. IL-15 is an inflammatory cytokine that induces the expression of TNF alpha and IL-1 beta. It inhibits self-tolerance mediated by AICD and facilitates memory CD8 T-cell survival. When IL-15 is indiscriminately expressed it leads to inflammatory autoimmune diseases. Humanized Mik-Beta-1 (anti-CD122, anti-IL-2/IL-15R beta) has been developed and introduced into the Clinic to provide therapy for select leukemias and autoimmune diseases that are associated with disordered IL-15 action. Dr. Waldmann’s new insights concerning the IL-2 and IL-15 cytokine systems are providing a novel perspective for the treatment of neoplasia and autoimmune diseases.

The 2nd Immunodiagnostics & Immunomonitoring: From Research to Clinic conference features presentations on new targets & markers for immunodiagnostics, novel approaches to immunodiagnostics & immunomonitoring, immunomonitoring in clinical trials, and more. For more information, visit

About GTCbio

GTCbio organizes conferences specifically for the biomedical and biopharmaceutical industries. Their goal is to facilitate the exchange of biopharmaceutical and biomedical intelligence between industry leaders, academic and government organizations, and the financial community. GTCbio is a subsidiary of Global Technology Community, LLC, a privately held company founded in 2002. Contact: GTCBIO (626) 256-6405, (626) 256-6460 fax,

Tiffany Chin