Smac Mimetics Synergize With Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors to Promote Tumour Immunity Against Glioblastoma

Small-molecule inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) antagonists, called Smac mimetic compounds (SMCs), sensitize tumours to TNF-α-induced killing while simultaneously blocking TNF-α growth-promoting activities. SMCs also regulate several immunomodulatory properties within immune cells. We report that SMCs synergize with innate immune stimulants and immune checkpoint inhibitor biologics to produce durable cures in mouse models of glioblastoma in which single agent therapy is ineffective. The complementation of activities between these classes of therapeutics is dependent on cytotoxic T-cell activity and is associated with a reduction in immunosuppressive T-cells. Notably, the synergistic effect is dependent on type I IFN and TNF-α signalling. Furthermore, our results implicate an important role for TNF-α-producing cytotoxic T-cells in mediating the anti-cancer effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors when combined with SMCs. Overall, this combinatorial approach could be highly effective in clinical application as it allows for cooperative and complimentary mechanisms in the immune cell-mediated death of cancer cells.

Lead Researchers

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Researchers

  1. Robert Korneluk

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  2. Shawn Beug

    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  3. Tommy Michel Alain

    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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