Personalized cancer immunotherapy has tremendous potential to provide an incredible benefit to society. Without doubt, successful immunotherapies will not only reduce health care costs, but will also increase the quality of life of the affected patients. Clinical trials have demonstrated profound tumor regression including complete cure in patients with metastatic cancer after treatment with immunotherapy.
Providing the necessary bioinformatics means to further develop and apply personalized cancer immunotherapy. Recent technological advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) allow for the first time the development of personalised cancer therapies that target patient-specific mutations. However, clinical application is currently hampered by specific bottlenecks in bioinformatics. Therefore, the overall objective of APERIM is to develop an advanced bioinformatics platform for personalised cancer immunotherapy, which integrates NGS data, whole tissue slides imaging data, and clinical data, as well as the following novel analytical software tools:
- A tool to quantify tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in colorectal cancer patients. This digital sorting tool will be invaluable for future clinical application to stratify colorectal cancer patients.
- An analytical pipeline for NGS-guided personalised cancer vaccines. In the future tumor – specific neo-antigens could be identified and selected as individual vaccine targets.
- A novel method to predict T-cell receptor (TCR) specificity, forming the most visionary aim of the project. Based on this information adoptive T-cell cancer therapy might be successful in the future.
By utilizing trans-disciplinary expertise in this work programme leading experts in bioinformatics and cancer immunology conceptualised an approach with the overall goal to create conditions needed for better treatment of cancer with state-of-the-art precision medicine in future.