Researchers using big data to predict immunotherapy responses

August 8, 2018, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
cancer
Killer T cells surround a cancer cell. Credit: NIH

In the age of Big Data, cancer researchers are discovering new ways to monitor the effectiveness of immunotherapy treatments.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy developed a new way to use bioinformatics as a gathering tool to determine how a patient's immune system responds to immunotherapy and recognizes its own tumor.

The study was published by Cancer Immunology Research June 12, 2018.

Senior author Kellie Smith, Ph.D., instructor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, hopes enough data can be recovered to allow clinicians to determine the best course of treatment for by using a technique called MANAFEST.

"Once people are diagnosed with cancer, we hope to use this procedure to develop the best treatment options for them," Smith said. "Previously, the technology (for MANAFEST) wasn't there. In the last few years, the technology has evolved to enable us to come up with the way to analyze the data to help patients."

Mutation-associated neoantigens (MANAs) are a target of antitumor T-cell immunity. However, there was a need to find out how well T-cells can recognize these MANAs in cancer patients.

The scientists changed how cultures were gathered to improve the accuracy of data for bioinformatics, creating the FEST (Functional Expansion of Specific T-cells) analysis. They said this combined information can be used to create a database to figure out what types of immunotherapy-related responses are associated with clinical benefit, improving the effectiveness of treatment for patients.

The FEST method was adapted specifically to detect a MANA-specific sequence in blood, tumor and normal tissue of patients receiving immunotherapy. Smith said the technique could be used to serve as a predictor of responses to in many types of cancers.

She cautioned this is only the first generation for FEST to be used. The hope is it will lead to a central repository of data that could monitor how well patients mount immune responses to their disease.

Explore further: Turning off protein could boost immunotherapy effectiveness on cancer tumors

More information: Ludmila Danilova et al. The Mutation-Associated Neoantigen Functional Expansion of Specific T Cells (MANAFEST) Assay: A Sensitive Platform for Monitoring Antitumor Immunity, Cancer Immunology Research (2018). DOI: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0129

Related Stories

Turning off protein could boost immunotherapy effectiveness on cancer tumors

July 31, 2018
Researchers at the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discovered inhibiting a previously known protein could reduce tumor burdens and enhance the effectiveness of ...

Lethal prostate cancer treatment may benefit from combination immunotherapy

June 25, 2018
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (BKI) released a study investigating the use of combination checkpoint immunotherapy in the treatment of a ...

Technique that characterizes different immune cell groups in individual patients could revolutionize cancer treatments 

May 2, 2018
A pioneering technique developed by A*STAR researchers can identify and profile specific groups of immune cells that target cancer cells in individual patients. This approach could open the door to personalized cancer treatments.

Cancers evade immunotherapy by 'discarding the evidence' of tumor-specific mutations

January 5, 2017
Results of an initial study of tumors from patients with lung cancer or head and neck cancer suggest that the widespread acquired resistance to immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors may be due to the elimination ...

Cancer: More targeted use of immunotherapy

June 12, 2018
Doctors are increasingly fighting cancer by stimulating patients' immune systems. SNSF-supported researchers have now discovered a method for predicting the likelihood of treatment success.

New approach to immunotherapy leads to complete response in breast cancer patient

June 4, 2018
A novel approach to immunotherapy developed by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has led to the complete regression of breast cancer in a patient who was unresponsive to all other treatments. This patient ...

Recommended for you

Healthy diets linked to better outcomes in colorectal cancer

October 20, 2018
Colorectal cancer patients who followed healthy diets had a lower risk of death from colorectal cancer and all causes, even those who improved their diets after being diagnosed, according to a new American Cancer Society ...

Scientists to improve cancer treatment effectiveness

October 19, 2018
Together with researchers from the University of Nantes and the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne in France, experts from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI have recently developed a quantum dot-based microarray ...

Why some cancers affect only young women

October 19, 2018
Among several forms of pancreatic cancer, one of them specifically affects women, often young. How is this possible, even though the pancreas is an organ with little exposure to sex hormones? This pancreatic cancer, known ...

Mutant cells colonize our tissues over our lifetime

October 18, 2018
By the time we reach middle age, more than half of the oesophagus in healthy people has been taken over by cells carrying mutations in cancer genes, scientists have uncovered. By studying normal oesophagus tissue, scientists ...

Study involving hundreds of patient samples may reveal new treatment options of leukemia

October 17, 2018
After more than five years and 672 patient samples, an OHSU research team has published the largest cancer dataset of its kind for a form of leukemia. The study, "Functional Genomic Landscape of Acute Myeloid Leukemia", published ...

A 150-year-old drug might improve radiation therapy for cancer

October 17, 2018
A drug first identified 150 years ago and used as a smooth-muscle relaxant might make tumors more sensitive to radiation therapy, according to a recent study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.