ATLAS Shows Promise in Distinguishing Cancer Patients Who Respond to Immunotherapy

ATLAS Shows Promise in Distinguishing Cancer Patients Who Respond to Immunotherapy

Genocea Biosciences, Inc. recently announced positive results from a pilot study on ATLAS, the company’s lead technology, when applied to cancer patients treated with immunotherapies. The results were announced in a poster presentation at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) 30th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Associated Programs in National Harbor, Maryland.

In the pilot study titled “Immunoprofiling of T cell responses in melanoma patients undergoing CPI therapy,” Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers collaborated with Genocea Biosciences to perform a retrospective analysis of responses to 23 known tumor-associated antigens by 10 cancer patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors.  Using ATLAS technology, a procedure that allows a rapid identification of key antigens that alert immune cells, the team was able to identify which specific cancer antigens activated patients’ CD4 or CD8 T cells, in both immunotherapy responders and non-responders, discovering a different response signature in T cells from patients who respond to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy versus those who don’t.

In a press release, Jessica Baker Flechtner, PhD, senior vice president of research at Genocea, commented on these positive results: “The breakthroughs we’ve seen in the immuno-oncology field to date have been profound, yet emerging treatment approaches do not yet include an understanding of who may respond to therapy and why. These findings provide strong proof of concept that ATLAS can take a panoramic view of a large, diverse population of cancer patients and reveal clinically relevant signatures of protective responses. We believe we are uniquely positioned to utilize our technology to enable smarter profiling — indicating what must be present to see a benefit from therapy — as well as smarter identification of T cell antigens to drive cancer vaccine development.”

Genocea Biosciences will continue its collaboration with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to include further analysis on patients’ blood samples, this way identifying T cell responses that characterize checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy efficacy. Additionally, researchers hope that ATLAS technology can identify novel immunotherapeutic targets.

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