Immunotherapy has changed the face of oncology over the past twelve years by introducing an entirely new paradigm to therapeutic intervention in cancer. Despite the recognizable and in some cases, dramatic improvements in clinical benefit for patents across a diverse range of malignancies that the checkpoint inhibitors, cell therapies and T-cell engagers have provided, the field—both in academia and industry—has yet to replicate the broad significance achieved by the modulation of the PD1/L1 axis in solid tumors.

As previously debated before with this panel, this disparity could stem from investments and deal-making surpassing the rate of scientific progress, including the growing comprehension of the Immuno-Oncology (IO) combination rationale. It might also be linked to the biotech downturn—which we hope has concluded—where an excess of capital led to the advancement of programs with slim chances of success. These include projects still too nascent and akin to academic research, or those where early indicators, such as the absence of single-agent activity, were overlooked.

Echoing the sentiment of our 2023 Cancer Progress panel, IO had not fully realized its state-of-the-art potential.

The question for this year’s session focuses on “Where are we now, and where are we going, in IO” – and how do we move the needle to get to the next level of clinical benefit for patients?


  • Jeff Bockman, Lumanity
  • Viraj Parkeh, Lumanity


  • Mike Curran, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Ana Rosa Saez Ibanez, Cancer Research Institute
  • Andres McAllister, BioInvent International AB
  • Emmett Schmidt, Merck
  • Taylor Schreiber, Shattuck Labs, Inc.