Comprehensive coverage

Development of new biological sensors to assess cancer patients' responses to treatments

A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has developed a breakthrough technology that includes a revolutionary new test that will predict the response of cancer patients to immunotherapy with a higher percentage of accuracy than existing technologies. The results of the research were published in the prestigious magazine "Science Advances"

Immunotherapy is a treatment method against cancer, in which the abilities of the immune system are used to destroy cancer cells. One of the significant challenges in the field of cancer research is to predict which of the patients will respond to immunotherapy treatment.

A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has developed a breakthrough technology that succeeds in predicting the response of cancer patients to treatment with anti-PD1 immune checkpoint inhibitors, with higher accuracy percentages than existing technologies. The research was carried out under the leadership of the doctoral student Bar Kaufman, a student in the MD-PhD program, and Orly Abramov, a graduate student, under the guidance of Prof. Angel Forgador and Prof. Moshe Elkabats From the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University and in collaboration with the Soroka and Barzilai hospitals.

The technology company OncoHost, which specializes in technological diagnostics in the field of oncology, decided to invest in research and signed a partnership agreement with the company BGNegev, the implementation company of Ben-Gurion University in the Negev. As part of the agreement, Oncohst will invest in the funding of the research and will be a partner in the rights of its findings, the developments that came out due to it and the patents that will be registered under it.

Cancer tumors of various types manifest themselves in the production of excess PDL1 and PDL2 proteins, which connect to the cell receptor PD1 found on the various cells of the immune system. The interaction between the proteins and the cell receptor causes the inhibition of the immune system in the environment of the cancerous tumor and thus enables its growth. The treatment of immune control points actually blocks the binding between the proteins and the receptor, thereby overcoming the inhibition created in the immune system. As a result, in some cancer patients, the treatment causes partial or complete regression of the cancerous tumor. To date, no way has been found that could predict well which of the cancer patients the treatment will cause the tumor to regress.

The technology developed by the researchers from Ben-Gurion University is based on biological sensors that express PD1 similar to immune system cells, and can measure the ability of the proteins that inhibit the tumor cells to bind to the receptor on the sensors. The study examined samples from 42 cancer patients, and found that measuring the binding capacity of the proteins is a positive predictive index for tumor regression as a result of treatment with checkpoint inhibitors.

The development of the test to predict the success of the immunotherapeutic treatment is a breakthrough, thanks to its ability to develop sensors that can measure the binding capacity of many proteins that are a target for a variety of drugs in cancer treatment. The immediate meaning is that doctors will be able to know in advance which of the patients are going to respond to Anti-PD1 treatment and in the future also for additional treatments, thus preventing ineffective treatment and side effects from patients who will not respond to treatment. In the future, this technology will expand to additional treatments and thus can be used to adjust personalized treatments with checkpoint inhibitors.

"One of the achievements of this new technology is the ability to test a large number of patients at once without the need for fresh biological material, which makes it easier for doctors to identify potential responders, even for patients with cancers for which anti-PD1 treatment has not yet been approved." emphasizes Prof. Forgador.

"In conclusion, this technology is expected to be a game changer in the world of diagnostics for cancer treatment," he stated Prof. Alkabats, "It will enable accurate prediction of the patient's response to treatments with checkpoint inhibitors, it has the potential to improve the lives of cancer patients by identifying effective personalized treatment options."

This research was made possible thanks to the support of the accelerator program of the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and the Israel Science Foundation.

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.