Adrian Bot, MD, PhD is the Vice President of Translational Sciences at Kite Pharma Inc, a biotechnology company developing genetically engineered T cell therapies, based in Los Angeles, CA. He has more than 20 years of experience in biomedical research and development.
Dr. Bot obtained his MD at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timisoara, Romania and his PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Subsequently, he was a Guest Scientist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and Scientist, Principal Scientist and Director of Immunology Research at Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp. in San Diego, CA. In Nov 2002, Dr. Bot joined Allecure Pharmaceuticals which became MannKind Corp, where he was a Director of Research and Development. He had several other appointments at MannKind: Sr. Director of Translational Medicine, Vice President of Scientific Management and Vice President of Research, prior to the appointment as Chief Scientific Officer and then Vice President of Translational Sciences at Kite Pharma Inc. Most currently at Kite Pharma, Dr. Bot has been responsible for overseeing the translational activities in support of the development of Axi-Cel, a novel CAR T cell therapy for B cell malignancies. He has been a long time SITC member and is currently serving on the SITC Industry leadership panel.
Dr. Bot’s background is in theoretical and experimental immunology, cancer research, cell therapies, biomolecules and small molecules spanning all stages of development. He authored or co-authored more than 100 research articles, abstracts, reviews, book chapters and monographs in basic and applied immunology. Dr. Bot is the current Editor in Chief of the International Reviews of Immunology and the Section Editor, Immunology and Immunotherapy of the Journal of Translational Medicine.
What are the two or three critical issues facing the field of cancer immunotherapy?
A. A critical issue facing our field is to design novel treatments capable to remove the last cancerous cell in the body. To date, the rate of successful outcomes is limited and disproportionately lower in solid tumors. For tumors that are immunologically involved and express targets that are addressable through immunological means, there needs to be a concerted effort to design, optimize and integrate therapeutic approaches that restore, enhance and facilitate the activity of immune effector cells. For tumors that are immunologically uninvolved, novel therapies need to be designed that have the capability to reprogram the tumor environment rendering the disease sensitive to immune based therapies. Elimination of the “last cancerous cell” in the body will require a deep understanding of cancer cell stemness and dormancy, and may present a formidable challenge in cases without immunologically actionable targets. Individualized approaches could be needed to effectively tackle this mechanistic diversity, pushing the boundaries of medicine towards unexplored horizons requiring novel development and regulatory frameworks.
B. A second issue facing our field, accompanying the raise of novel classes of potent immuno oncology therapies such as checkpoint blocking agents and T cell based therapies, is represented by the related toxicities. Potent categories of immunotherapies, pushing the immune system in overdrive, are accompanied by novel types of toxicities. A systematic approach to understand those mechanistically, so as to advance adequate predictive markers, rationale toxicities management and platform improvements, is needed.
C. With the advent of novel yet more complex and costly immune interventions, the gap between industrialized and developing countries, from the perspective of access to state of the art medicine, will only widen. This will require a global, systematic effort to minimize such disparities and ensure that the benefits of modern medicine are made available to those in need.
What is your vision for SITC?
SITC leads the global effort to advance breakthrough treatments for cancer through information sharing and collaborative science that maximizes the potential of the immune system, resulting in cures.