MIA shines in poster session
22 November 2019
MIA is well-represented in the poster sessions at the Society for Melanoma Research 2019 Congress in the USA, with four poster presentations being given by members of our translational research lab.
PhD student Grace Attrill presented her work on possible biomarkers of response in Stage III melanoma patients treated with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. She has found that a specific population of immune cell appears in higher numbers in patients who were treated with anti-PD-1 and did not recur. Her research also found that another subpopulation of immune cells may be associated with increased risk of melanoma recurrence. Grace’s poster notes that these immune cells could be a possible biomarker that may indicate which patients will respond well to immunotherapy.
Recent PhD graduate Dr Tuba Nur Gide, also presented a poster on immune cells in melanoma patients treated with immunotherapy. Dr Gide looked at the distribution of specific immune cells in relation to patient response. She found a significant association between response to immunotherapy and a very short distance between immune cells and melanoma cells. A higher amount of these immune cells that were close to patient melanoma cells also related to better progression-free survival for patients on immunotherapy. These findings could also be used to create better biomarkers of patient response.
Another PhD student, Jarem Edwards, presented his research on tumour mutation burden as a possible factor in patient survival. He found that the number of mutations in a patient’s melanoma was not predictive of the amount of immune cells, nor did they predict response or survival in melanoma patients.
Finally, medical oncology fellow, Dr Lalit Pallan, presented his poster on clinical predictors of outcome in melanoma patients with brain metastases treated with combination immunotherapy. Clinicopathological characteristics of patients are those that can be observed by clinicians through minimally invasive techniques such as scans and blood tests. Dr Pallan found that levels of LDH (an enzyme regularly tested for in the blood of melanoma patients), the number of brain metastases, and prior treatments may be factors that could help clinicians determine the likely outcome of treatment. Notably, patients with a lower burden of brain metastases that are asymptomatic and are treated for the first time with combination immunotherapy are more likely to respond to their treatment and have longer progression-free and overall survival.
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