Novel Assay Helps Identify Appropriate Monitoring, Immunotherapy for Patients With Ovarian Cancer


The new sFIS assay may be capable of identifying immune biomarkers indicative of survival chances and treatment effectiveness for patients with ovarian cancer, according to a study published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer. This would allow for targeted monitoring and specific, appropriate immunotherapy treatment for these patients.

Due to the highly immune-resistant nature of ovarian cancer cells, as well as the high diversity among patients with the disease, immunotherapies have not achieved the same degree of success in treating ovarian cancer as they have in patients with melanoma or lung cancer. Qualitative biomarkers would allow providers to classify patients into categories that can receive tailored treatment and care.

“Our team wanted to capture the real rhythms or fluctuations of treatment or survival-relevant pathways, and hence we went in search of personalized, dynamic biomarkers that determine patients' chances of survival,” said Abhishek D. Garg, PhD, in a press release. “The sFIS assay strategy has been applied for the first time with ovarian cancer, but will also be tested in other types of cancer.”

According to the investigators, the assay makes use of patient’s blood serum, which is added to the cells in the lab for each patient.

“Based on the results from the assay, we can support doctors in drawing up a monitoring and treatment plan, specific to particular groups of patients,” said Jenny Sprooten, PhD student, in the release. “Because every tumor leaves its own ‘fingerprint’ behind in the serum, the cells will react differently.”

Two clinical studies have already evaluated the use of the assay in patients with ovarian cancer, and studies investigating its use in patients with other types of cancer are currently being planned, according to the researchers. These future studies will help validate the effectiveness of the assay. The investigators estimate the assay will be available for use in 3 to 5 years.


KU Leuven develops an assay for patient-specific monitoring and treatment for ovarian cancer. News release. EurekAlert. November 18, 2021. Accessed November 18, 2021.

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