MAY 19, 2020 12:45 PM EDT | APAC MAY 20, 2020 3:45 PM CST

Highly Multiplexed Digital Spatial Profiling of the Tumor Microenvironment of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients Treated with Immune Checkpoint Therapy

Speaker
  • Peter Doherty NHMRC Early Career Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
    Biography
      Dr Arutha Kulasinghe completed his PhD in 2017 at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). In 2019, Dr Kulasinghe began a Peter Doherty NHMRC Early Career Fellowship to develop predictive biomarkers of immunotherapy response in head and neck and lung cancers. Dr Kulasinghe aims to spatially map these tumours to understand the tumour/immune contexture using novel digital spatial mapping technology. This data may be a powerful tool to determine a personalised course of treatment for individual cancer patients.

      Dr Kulasinghe is supported by a number of funding agencies including the NHMRC, Cure Cancer, Can Too Foundation, Translational Research Institute (TRI), Princess Alexandra Research Foundation (PARF) and the Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation (GPRWMF) and has published his work in over 25 Cancer/Oncology journals with multiple invited National/International presentations. More recently, he's been awarded a 'Scholar-in-Training' award to present at AACR 2020.
      Twitter: @aruthak

    Abstract

    Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have shown durable and long-term benefits in a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. To identify patient-responders from non-responders, biomarkers are needed which are predictive of outcome to ICI therapy. Cues in the tumour microenvironment (TME) have been informative in understanding the tumour-immune contexture. In this study, the NanoString GemoMx™ Digital Spatial Profiling (DSP) technology was used to determine the immune marker and compartment specific measurements in a cohort of HNSCC tumours from patients receiving ICI therapy. Our data revealed that markers involved with immune cell infiltration (CD8 T-cells) were not predictive of outcome to ICI therapy. Rather, a number of immune cell types were found to correlate with progressive disease. This study, to our knowledge, represents the first spatial analysis of HNSCC tumours.

    1 The School of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia.

    2 Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.


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