Could a simple blood test determine which cancer patients will respond to immunotherapy?

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1. Please give a summary of your research.

My research has been focused on the development of non-invasive diagnostic tools for the early detection of metastatic cancers. Metastasis remains the major cause of cancer related deaths (approximately 90%) and very little is understood about the metastatic seeds in circulation, commonly termed circulating tumour cells (CTCs). My research, through the use of state of the art CTC isolation methodologies, has led to a number of significant advances in knowledge in the areas of solid cancers including head and neck cancers (HNCs), and lung cancers.

My work has clarified the need to move away from marker dependent platforms to more unbiased CTC capture methodologies which are able to capture single and CTC clusters. CTC clusters/microemboli have been shown to be crucial in the development of metastatic disease. My work in CTC clusters has been one of the few early studies documenting these in HNC patients.

The bottleneck in the field has been to expand these rare cancer cells from the patient’s blood as this would provide the "holy grail" of a non-invasive liquid biopsy. I was able to report, for the first time in HNCs, short term CTC expansion outside the patient’s body using novel culture formulations. These short term cultures can be used for the testing of medicines and drug sensitivity assays to determine whether culture responses parallel patient responses to therapy.

My research has also revealed that biomarkers are expressed on CTCs which can be used to select patients for immunotherapy – a current unmet clinical need.

2. Please include any additional details you would like to share

Immunotherapies have been hailed as a ‘game changer’ in the treatment of cancer patients and have doubled survival rates in advanced stage cancers. However, they do not work in all patients and can be toxic to some. With immunotherapy costing about $150,000 per patient per year, it is important economically to select patients who are most receptive to the treatment. Through my research, i have identified a method to capture cancer cells using a simple blood draw and identify immunotherapeutic targets which are potentially predictive of therapy outcomes. This has the potential to determine whether a patient would (1) be eligible for immunotherapy and (2) determine whether the patient is responding to the treatment over the course of their treatment.


https://eprints.qut.edu.au/view/person/Kulasinghe,_Arutha.html


https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=3wQtydUAAAAJ&hl=en


https://www.linkedin.com/in/arutha-kulasinghe-3b246561/


https://twitter.com/aruthak

Comments

23
Laura Bray
8 months ago

Great submission Arutha, good luck!

Sara Hassan
8 months ago

Great project. Good luck, Arutha!

Mj E-Warkiani
8 months ago

Great proposal 👍

Monexus Jamenex
8 months ago

Awesome proposal! 👍👍👍

Alan Leong
8 months ago

Interesting one! Way to go!

Keith Hepponstall
8 months ago

Amazing Proposal Arutha! Best of Luck 😊

Priya Unantenna
8 months ago

very interesting Arutha, all the best!

Nicholas Schoonraad
8 months ago

Awe. Nice work bra.

Zafar Iqbal
8 months ago

Great work

Sameera Gunathilake
8 months ago

Great work 👍👍👍👍

Melanie Hepponstall
8 months ago

Great Proposal. Best of Luck.

Suvo Wijesinghe
8 months ago

It's great.

Aadhya Regmi
8 months ago

Great proposal best of luck

Chami Wijesekara
8 months ago

Best of luck Arutha

Thamara Medawatte
8 months ago

Good work Arutha! All the best!

Suresha Weerasinghe
8 months ago

Great work, good luck!

Kalpana Bellanavithana
8 months ago

All the best

Gihan Athukoralage
8 months ago

Amazing Work! well done!

Shanae Nagpal
8 months ago

Fantastic work! Very inspiring!

Chanuka Gehasha Perera
8 months ago

Good luck aiya !!!!

Raju Tippana
8 months ago

Great work! Good Luck

Erik de Wit
8 months ago

Nice work, Arutha. Congratulations. Best of luck...

Anh Dao
7 months ago

Well done Arutha