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. Only patients with PD-L1 positive (>50%) tumours are currently eligible for PBS-subsidised immunotherapy. However, this is not an ideal biomarker and a significant number of patients with PD-L1-negative tumours respond to immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs and under the current guidelines these patients miss out on this therapy.

The aim of this research is to find a better biomarker for immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy by investigating other tumour proteins or DNA markers 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: Dr Hojabr Kakavand (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Woolcock Centre for Lung Cancer), Professor Maija Kohonen-Corish (Director, Woolcock Centre for Lung Cancer)

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