Genome Profiling, Fox Chase Cancer Center to Collaborate on Immune System Blood Test to Predict Checkpoint Inhibitor Response in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (July 13, 2020) – Genome Profiling and Fox Chase Cancer Center will collaborate to identify a novel immune system epigenetic biomarker, dubbed EpiMarker, which if successful, will be used to help predict which lung cancer patients are likely to respond to a checkpoint inhibitor therapy known as anti-PD1 antibody. These agents are a potentially valuable tool for lung cancer treatment, but it remains very difficult for doctors to predict which patients are most likely to benefit from them.

Genome Profiling will use its proprietary machine-learning platform and method to identify an interactive network of genomic DNA methylation sites in the circulating immune cells of patients that is predictive of response.

Current tests to guide clinical decision making for checkpoint inhibitors require an invasive tumor biopsy from the chest cavity. The testing method, however, has limited accuracy and predictive power and it is expensive. It is also difficult and painful for the patient and can lead to adverse events, including collapsed lungs. The potential for having a blood based test like the proposed use of EpiMarker that discriminates based on the biology of immune cells would be a valuable advance.

Presuming success in the discovery phase of the collaboration, a second step will be to translate the response prediction of the EpiMarker into a simple blood test that can be ordered by the diagnosing physician to guide treatment decisions. Genome Profiling is funding the collaboration and Fox Chase is providing patient blood samples and clinical expertise.

“Despite the tremendous advances in lung cancer care driven by the availability of anti-PD1 antibodies, only a minority of patients experience significant and long-lasting benefit,” said Hossein Borghaei, DO, MS, chief of Thoracic Oncology at Fox Chase.

“With current approaches it’s difficult to know exactly which patients will benefit, and improving that diagnostic ability is a key focus in the lung cancer immuno-oncology field,” Borghaei added.

“We are privileged to be able to work closely with Dr. Borghaei and Fox Chase’s renowned team of researchers and clinicians,” said Adam Marsh, PhD, Genome Profiling’s chief science officer and cofounder. “Their clinical knowledge and insights are a tremendous complement to Genome Profiling’s expertise. The collaboration has great potential to result in better patient care practices and to avoid unnecessary treatment side effects and costs.”

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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