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Project

A single-cell approach to identify biomarkers of efficacy and toxicity for immune checkpoint blockade in non-small cell lung cancer.

Immunotherapy has brought long-awaited progress in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), showing durable responses and a manageable toxicity profile. However, only a minority of patients (20%) with advanced NSCLC will respond to immune
checkpoint blockade (ICB). In addition, severe immune-related adverse events may occur. How can we predict which patients will benefit from immunotherapy or have an increased risk of toxicity?


Cancer cells, as well as their surrounding immune cells and supporting tissue, consist of (genetically) distinct populations of single cells. This intra-tumour cellular heterogeneity is responsible for the variability in response to ICB. Improving our understanding of this heterogeneity down to single-cell resolution is essential to developing rational and personalized cancer treatments. This research project aims to assess biomarkers of efficacy and toxicity for ICB in NSCLC. Therefore, we shall perform single-cell analysis on tumour samples taken at diagnosis as well as on serial blood samples taken during treatment and correlate the findings to clinical outcomes. Single-cell analyses on bronchoalveolar fluid of patients experiencing pneumonitis after receiving combination treatment ICB with radiotherapy, will help to elucidate the pathophysiology and in turn to identify biomarkers of toxicity. 

These findings may have great impact on clinical practice and trial design, by guiding rational selection of ICB (combination) therapy regimens.

Date:1 Aug 2019 →  Today
Keywords:Non-small cell lung cancer, Single-Cell Analysis, Tumor Microenvironment, Biomarker research
Disciplines:Oncology not elsewhere classified
Project type:PhD project