Collaborative Team: Dr A Mehdi, Prof I Frazer, A/Prof Euan Walpole, Dr J Chandra, Dr T Hossain, Dr E McCaffrey.
Immune Checkpoint blockade therapy can be applied to a wide range of cancers including melanoma, lung cancer and head and neck cancer.
But because only around 20 per cent of patients are currently responding a new research project will use artificial intelligence to try to determine which patients should be treated with immunotherapies and explore why more patients do not respond to the treatment.
Led by PA Hospital based Professor Ian Frazer and Dr Ahmed Mehdi a world-class team consisting of clinicians, immunologists and biostatisticians will contribute to this study made possible by funding from the PA Research Foundation.
Blood samples will be taken from cancer patients and processed in Professor’s lab at the PA Hospital based Translational Research Institute where using flow cytometry, individual patient cells will be examined to identify key genetic markers which may indicate whether a patient will respond to immunotherapy or another treatment regime.
Helping to predict what treatment each patient is more likely to respond to will be computer algorithms that will process more than 10,000 cells per patient while also aiding in identifying and measuring several proteins expressed in each cell.
The study will recruit more than 150 patients highlighting the need for high performance computing and efficient programming to process the substantial amounts of data collected.
To project will see samples taken from patients at two time points, the first being prior to immunotherapy and the second six weeks after immunotherapy is given with an initial goal of developing a defined way of informing clinicians which patients are likely to respond to immunotherapy.
The second more long term aim of the project is identifying why some patients fail to respond to immunotherapy and why.