How Can Bioinformatics Determine Immunotherapy Response?

A recent study discovered a new way to use bioinformatics to determine how a patient’s immune system responds to immunotherapy.

Recently, researchers conducted a study at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy that discovered a new way to use bioinformatics to determine how a patient’s immune system responds to immunotherapy.

Mutation-associated neoantigens (MANAs) are a target of antitumor T-cell immunity. However, previously there was no way to identify how well T cells can recognize these MANAs in patients with cancer. “Sensitive and specific T-cell assays that assess the repertoire of MANA-specific T cells are needed to understand the nature of antitumor immunity and to identify biomarkers predictive of response to immunotherapies,” stated the study.

The researchers were able to change how cultures were obtained in order to improve the accuracy of the data collected for bioinformatics. This process created the Functional Expansion of Specific T-cells (FEST) analysis. FEST “integrates TCR [T-cell receptor] sequencing of short-term, peptide-stimulated cultures with a bioinformatic platform to identify antigen-specific clonotypic amplifications,” noted the authors. The researchers are looking to combine this information in the creation of a database to investigate what types of immunotherapy-related responses are associated with clinical benefit.

Once people are diagnosed with cancer, we hope to use this procedure to develop the best treatment options for them,” said Kellie Smith, PhD, senior author of the study and instructor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, in a statement.

Click to continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.