Nothing like a little medical jibber jabber poured into this poor laymens mind to create a good old fashioned headache. In trying to research what the MEDI4736 clinical trial is all about I ran across a table of like trials and saw headings like:

  • Biologic [B7H1-specific engineered human IgG1]
  • Roles [T cell activation and tolerance]

Being the Google searching dweeb that I am I couldn’t help but dig a little deeper. Unfortunately I ran into sentences like: “Antigen-induced activation and proliferation of T cells are regulated by both positive and negative costimulatory receptors of the immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily.” which simply leave my head swimming and my eyes glazing over.

Then I found the abstract that went along with the table I had been looking at.

Advances in targeting cell surface signalling molecules for immune modulation

Sheng Yao, Yuwen Zhu & Lieping Chen


The past decade has witnessed a surge in the development of immunomodulatory approaches to combat a broad range of human diseases, including cancer, viral infections, autoimmunity and inflammation as well as in the prevention of transplant rejection. Immunomodulatory approaches mostly involve the use of monoclonal antibodies or recombinant fusion proteins that target cell surface signalling molecules on immune cells to drive immune responses towards the desired direction. Advances in our understanding of the human immune system, along with valuable lessons learned from the first generation of therapeutic biologics, are aiding the design of the next generation of immunomodulatory biologics with better therapeutic efficacy, minimized adverse effects and long-lasting clinical benefit. The recent encouraging results from antibodies targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) and B7 homolog 1 (B7H1; also known as PDL1) for the treatment of various advanced human cancers show that immunomodulatory therapy has come of age.

Thankfully I’m just smart enough to understand most of the abstract if not the actual research papers. Let’s hope that these researchers from the Yale University, Department of Immunobiology are correct and that this new therapy truly has come of age.