“The assay identifies a group of patients that may benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitor based therapies, which are a new and exciting form of cancer immunotherapy,” Steven Walker, Head of Internal Product Management, Diagnostics, at Almac told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.
“Immunotherapy differs from other chemotherapy types by harnessing the innate powers of the immune system to attack the cancer cells, these treatments have the potential to achieve long-lasting remissions and cancer cures, with few or no side effects,” he added.
Researchers believe that the assay will select patients that respond to checkpoint inhibitor based therapy with greater precision than other biomarker approaches currently being used. Walker explained that this will ensure that more patients are given the therapy best suited to their particular cancer type.
“It was previously hypothesised that Almac’s 44 gene assay that selects patients who are incapable of repairing damaged DNA may also select patients capable of responding to immunotherapies,” he added.
As such, the study was created to demonstrate the underlying biology that causes activation of the innate immune response pathway in response to DNA damage.
The study, "Activation of STING-Dependent Innate Immune Signalling By S-Phase-Specific DNA Damage in Breast Cancer," was recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).
“Almac will now engage with pharma and academia to validate the Almac 44 gene assay for predicting response to immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-L1 and IDO1 and explore their use in combination with DNA damaging agents,” Walker said.