What You Should Know:
– Physicians at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and Cofactor Genomics ink a partnership to improve a physician’s ability to predict tumor response to immunotherapy, specifically in recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
– The data generated in this collaboration will further expand clinical evidence presented by Washington University physicians, where Cofactor’s technology showed superiority over the incumbent PD-L1 IHC assay in predicting responders to therapy.
Physicians at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and Cofactor Genomics, the company bridging the precision medicine gap, today announced a partnership aimed at improving a physician’s ability to predict tumor response to immunotherapy, specifically in recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (RM-HNSCC). Guiding and prioritizing therapy selection is especially important given last year’s FDA approval of pembrolizumab as a first line treatment for RM-HNSCC. The partnership is championed by Ezra Cohen, MD, Chief of the Division of Hematology‐Oncology at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, and leverages Cofactor’s recently-patented Predictive Immune Modeling technology.
The terms of the partnership include providing Cofactor Genomics with access to patient specimens and clinical metadata, a resource well-curated by the team at UCSD. The data generated in this collaboration will further expand clinical evidence presented earlier this year by Washington University physicians, where Cofactor’s technology showed superiority over the incumbent PD-L1 IHC assay in predicting responders to therapy.
The current clinical care pathway for recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer patients relies on using underpowered, antiquated technologies for treatment decisions. New tools that provide physicians with higher confidence in therapy selection are needed.
“Predicting tumor response prior to treatment is a necessary part of the precision medicine challenge,” explained Dr. Cohen. “Working with immune checkpoint inhibitors, a class of therapies that are already approved and proven to work in a subset of patients, is a low-risk, high-reward approach.”
“Cofactor is approaching diagnostic development in a number of ways that are unique. Integrating multiple immune signals into a single clinical decision simultaneously simplifies and expands how we leverage this information,” noted Dr. Cohen.
Unlocking the Potential of Multidimensional Biomarkers
Multidimensional biomarkers have been described by many, including the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Immune Biomarkers Task Force, as the ideal approach to obtaining a complete view of the tumor microenvironment, necessary for predicting immunotherapy response. Cofactor’s RM-HNSCC diagnostic development is the outcome of Predictive Immune Modeling, which leverages immune-specific multidimensional biomarkers. These biomarkers integrate the distinct differences in the tumor profile between the tumors of responders and non-responders to immunotherapy. RM-HNSCC is one of 16 indications approved for treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors, the sum of which represents 50% of U.S. cancer cases annually. Predictive diagnostics are an integral part of achieving UCSD’s precision medicine goals, as supported by the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy.