Immune therapy has introduced a new way to treat cancer. One type of immune therapy is called PD1 immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI). PD1 ICI has enabled some people with melanoma and other cancers to live longer. These people have specific features on their tumors that are called biomarkers. People without these biomarkers do not respond as well to PD1 ICI therapy.
Our lab recently showed that a combination of two drugs can completely clear tumors in mice. One drug is a type of immune therapy called CTLA4 ICI; the other is an oral cancer drug called a PARP inhibitor. We developed two clinical trials to test this combination in people.
In the first clinical trial, we showed that people who lived longer had a new biomarker called VSTM5. In the second clinical trial, we will confirm that this biomarker predicts who will live longer when given this drug combination.
In this project, we will study why the VSTM5 biomarker predicts a response to the CTLA4 ICI therapy. We will use these results to select people who are likely to respond to CTLA4 ICI therapy. Our goal is to help more people get immune therapies that help them. We also want to help develop new types of treatments for ovarian and other cancers.