Cancer immunotherapy is now an established major therapeutic modality, and by 2025 it is estimated that 70% of all cancer patients will receive some or the other form of immunotherapy treatment as a part of their disease control. Cancer immunotherapy drugs elicit their antitumor immune response in a subset of the treated patients by activating CD8 T-cells and provide sustainable and long-lasting benefit.
However, the challenge is in selecting patients who will benefit from an immunotherapy treatment as a result of lack of availability of well-defined predictive and prognostic biomarkers that can be utilized to assess the responsiveness and long-term benefits that a patient would have to undergo immunotherapy. While it is appreciated that many different tumor cell-intrinsic and extrinsic features, including the tumor microenvironment, driver gene mutations, host genetics, microbiome and environmental factors modulate response to immune checkpoint inhibitors, the tumor microenvironment ecosystem could be a major contributor in regulating response to immunotherapy treatment and development of resistance.
Presence of certain immune cell types within the tumor indicates a more immunogenic state versus those other cells which have immunosuppressive properties, therefore in-depth study of the composition of the tumor microenvironment can help to predict the elicited response to cancer immunotherapy. Another feature of tumors that can be predictive of success to immunotherapy is the tumor mutational burden. Presence of somatic gene mutations in the tumor that leads to formation neoantigens that are immunogenic - can be targeted by T-cells for killing tumors and also can be utilized for the development of cancer vaccines.
Genomic approaches that facilitate a comprehensive profiling of the tumor microenvironment and the mutational state of the tumor can serve as tools for both biomarker discovery and strategies for improving the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.
At MedGenome we have developed several solutions for effective biomarker discovery to stratify and treat patients for immunotherapy : OncoPeptTUME, OncoPeptVAC and OncoPeptTCR.