Currently Viewing:
Currently Reading
Utilizing Bioinformatics to Determine a Patient's Response to Immunotherapy
August 24, 2018 – Samantha DiGrande
NCCN Releases New Guidelines for Rare Cancers During Pregnancy
August 23, 2018 – Samantha DiGrande
MEDCAC Panel Mostly Endorses PROs for CAR T Therapies
August 22, 2018 – Allison Inserro
Tracking ctDNA Levels Can Quickly Predict Response to Lymphoma Therapy
August 22, 2018 – Laura Joszt
CAR T Signaling Differences Could Point the Way to More Targeted Treatments, Study Says
August 21, 2018 – Allison Inserro
Payment Reform in Cancer Needs to Engage and Reward Patients, Experts Assert
August 21, 2018 – Laura Joszt
Opdivo Approved to Treat Metastatic SCLC
August 17, 2018 – Samantha DiGrande
PARP Inhibitor Increases PFS Over Chemotherapy in Advanced Breast Cancers, Study Finds
August 16, 2018 – Samantha DiGrande
AI Platform Can Identify Personalized Drug Combinations to Treat Multiple Myeloma
August 16, 2018 – Laura Joszt

Utilizing Bioinformatics to Determine a Patient's Response to Immunotherapy

Samantha DiGrande
A recent study at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy discovered a new way to use bioinformatics to determine how a patient’s immune system responds to immunotherapy.
Recently, researchers conducted a study at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy that discovered a new way to use bioinformatics to determine how a patient’s immune system responds to immunotherapy.

Mutation-associated neoantigens (MANAs) are a target of antitumor T-cell immunity. However, previously there was no way to identify how well T cells can recognize these MANAs in patients with cancer. “Sensitive and specific T-cell assays that assess the repertoire of MANA-specific T cells are needed to understand the nature of antitumor immunity and to identify biomarkers predictive of response to immunotherapies,” stated the study.

The researchers were able to change how cultures were obtained in order to improve the accuracy of the data collected for bioinformatics. This process created the Functional Expansion of Specific T-cells (FEST) analysis. FEST “integrates TCR [T-cell receptor] sequencing of short-term, peptide-stimulated cultures with a bioinformatic platform to identify antigen-specific clonotypic amplifications,” noted the authors. The researchers are looking to combine this information in the creation of a database to investigate what types of immunotherapy-related responses are associated with clinical benefit.

“Once people are diagnosed with cancer, we hope to use this procedure to develop the best treatment options for them,” said Kellie Smith, PhD, senior author of the study and instructor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, in a statement

The FEST analysis was adapted to be able to detect a MANA-specific sequence in blood, tumors, and normal tissue of patients receiving immunotherapy treatment. This technique, the authors noted, could be used to predict patient responses to immunotherapy in many different cancers.

Due to the development of personalized cancer therapies, researchers noted there is now a need for routine high-throughput assays that monitor the antitumor immune response.

“MANAFEST brings scientific and translational value, owing to the capacity for molecular characterization of the TCR sequences associated with MANA recognition that can be coordinated across patients or histologies and between institutions to identify common genomic features associated with immunogenicity of tumors and common structural motifs of the TCR,” noted the study authors.

in looking to the future, the authors hope the test will lead to a conglomerate of data that would be able to monitor how well patients with cancer respond to immunotherapy treatments.


Danilova L, Anagnostou V, Caushi J, et al. The mutation-associated neoantigen functional expansion of specific T cells (MANAFEST) assay: a sensitive platform for monitoring antitumor immunity [published online June 12, 2018]. Cancer Immunol Res. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0129.

Related Articles

First Immunotherapy Combination Demonstrates Improved PFS in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Immunotherapy and VEGF-Targeted Therapy in NSCLC
Is the Rapid Uptake of Immunotherapies Sacrificing Patient Safety?
Copyright AJMC 2006-2020 Clinical Care Targeted Communications Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Welcome the the new and improved, the premier managed market network. Tell us about yourself so that we can serve you better.
Sign Up