Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

Network Projects
Core translational project 5

Core translational project 5

Development of New Biomarker Testing to Optimise Immunotherapy

About this project: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (a type of immunotherapy) have shown promise in the treatment of a subset of lung cancer patients. One of the proteins that is an indicator of immunotherapy responsiveness of the tumour is PD-L1, a naturally occurring protein, which is now routinely assessed to help the physicians decide what kind of therapy is most suitable for the patient with advanced cancer. However, this is not an ideal biomarker and a significant number of patients with PD-L1-negative tumours also respond to immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs. 

The aim of this research is to find better biomarkers for immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy by investigating other tumour proteins, DNA markers or microbiome profiling as alternatives for PD-L1 testing.

This project will potentially lead to the development of new predictive tests for response to immunotherapy in patients with lung cancer.

About the Team Leaders: Professor Maija Kohonen-Corish (Director, Woolcock Centre for Lung Cancer Research), Professor Brian Oliver (Head of the Respiratory Cellular and Molecular Biology Group, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research), Dr Anna McLean (PhD student, Respiratory Physician), Dr Zeenat Jahan (Postdoctoral Fellow), Hannah Parker (PhD student), Dr Steven Kao (Chris O’Brien Lifehouse), Professor Wendy Cooper (RPA).

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