The case of the miss­ing PD-L1: UCSF sleuths de­vise a new ‘tu­mor cell vac­cine’ and a check­point strat­e­gy that could sur­prise you

It will come as no sur­prise to any­one watch­ing the I/O mar­ket boom that PD-1/L1 drugs may be amaz­ing­ly ef­fec­tive, but for on­ly about 1 in 4 patents. In cer­tain types of can­cer, it’s much worse.

That 1 in 4 ra­tio has cre­at­ed a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar busi­ness — vir­tu­al­ly overnight in bio­phar­ma terms. But it has fo­cused an amaz­ing amount of at­ten­tion on the oth­er 3 who are miss­ing out.

Start­ing from that premise, a team of in­ves­ti­ga­tors at UCSF want­ed to find out why some can­cer cells had less of the PD-L1 pro­tein that are dis­played on the cell sur­face and used to cloak them­selves from an im­mune re­sponse.

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