Session Chair Profile

M.D., Professor in Residence and Program Leader for the Experimental Therapeutics Program, UCSF
Biography

Dr. Munster is a physician scientist who received her medical degree from the University of Bern, Switzerland. She completed her medical training at Indiana University Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York where she then served on faculty as a breast cancer specialist prior to moving to the University of California, San Francisco, where she is Professor in Residence and Program Leader for the Experimental Therapeutics Program, as well as the Co-Leader of the Center for BRCA Research at Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her laboratory develops novel targeted cancer treatment strategies. Dr. Munster’s basic research also involves studies on heritable factors of tumor development and treatment. Her clinical mission is to more rapidly translate novel scientific discovery to patient care with a goal to allow patients with incurable cancer real time and broader access to scientific advances. Dr. Munster has published in numerous scientific journals and textbooks, and recently authored Twisting Fate, about her experience as an oncologist and cancer patient.

Session Abstract – PMWC 2019 Silicon Valley

Session Synopsis: Cancer immunotherapy, and in particular PD-(L)1 blockade, have made a significant impact on the treatment of cancer patients in recent years. However, despite the remarkable clinical efficacy of these agents in a number of malignancies, it has become clear that they are not sufficiently active for many patients. Initial evidence, for example with combined inhibition of PD-1 and CTLA-4 in melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), has highlighted the potential to further enhance the clinical benefits of monotherapies by combining agents with synergistic mechanisms of action. There are multiple potential rational combinations using an immunotherapy backbone, including existing treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy or molecularly targeted agents, as well as other immunotherapies. Rational trial designs based on a clear understanding of tumor biology and drug pharmacology remain critical.

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