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The Next Generation of Pattern Recognition Receptor Agonists: Improving Response Rates in Cancer Immunotherapy

Author(s):

Daniel H. O’ Donovan*, Yumeng Mao and Deanna A. Mele   Pages 1 - 19 ( 19 )

Abstract:


The recent success of checkpoint blocking antibodies has sparked a revolution in cancer immunotherapy. Checkpoint inhibition activates the adaptive immune system leading to durable responses across a range of tumor types, although this response is limited to patient populations with pre-existing tumor infiltrating T cells. Strategies to stimulate the immune system to prime an antitumor response are of intense interest and several groups are now working to develop agents to activate the pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), proteins which detect pathogenic and damage-associated molecules and respond by activating the innate immune response. Although early efforts focused on the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family of membrane-bound PRRs, TLR activation has been associated with both pro- and antitumor effects. Nonetheless, TLR agonists have been deployed as potential anticancer agents in a range of clinical trials. More recently, the cytosolic PRR Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) has attracted attention as another promising target for anticancer drug development, with early clinical data beginning to emerge. Besides STING, several other cytosolic PRR targets have likewise captured the interest of the drug discovery community, including the RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs) and NOD-like receptors (NLRs). In this review, we describe the outlook for activators of PRRs as anticancer therapeutic agents and contrast the earlier generation of TLR agonists with the emerging focus on cytosolic PRR activators, both as single agents and in combination with other cancer immunotherapies.

Keywords:

Immuno-oncology, innate immunity, pattern recognition receptors, cancer immunotherapy, TLRs, NLRs, RLRs, STING

Affiliation:

Oncology, IMED Biotech Unit, AstraZeneca, Cambridge, Oncology, IMED Biotech Unit, AstraZeneca, Cambridge, Oncology, IMED Biotech Unit, AstraZeneca, Waltham, Massachusetts



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