IRP-led research team develops predictor for immunotherapy response in melanoma
In a new study, researchers developed a gene expression predictor that can indicate whether melanoma in a specific patient is likely to respond to treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors, a novel type of immunotherapy. The predictor was developed by Noam Auslander, Ph.D., with other researchers in the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and the University of Maryland, College Park. The study was published Aug. 20, 2018 in Nature Medicine.
“There is a critical need to be able to predict how cancer patients will respond to this type of immunotherapy,” said Eytan Ruppin, M.D., Ph.D., of NCI’s newly established Cancer Data Science Laboratory, who led the study. “Being able to predict who is highly likely to respond and who isn’t will enable us to more accurately and precisely guide patients’ treatment.”
Treatment with checkpoint inhibitors is effective for some patients with late-stage melanoma and certain other types of cancer. However, not all patients with melanoma respond to this treatment, and it can have considerable side effects. But developing a predictor of response has been challenging, partly because of the limited number of patients who have received this relatively new form of treatment.
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