Gene Signature Could Predict NSC Lung Cancer Response to Immunotherapy

New research has found genes that could help forecast how non-small cell lung cancer may respond to a treatment combination of low-dose radiation and immunotherapy. The researchers explained that these genes could help identify tumors that were more likely to be destroyed by immunotherapies.

Immunotherapies work by activating an individual’s immune system to fight the cancer. Despite saving numerous lives, however, only about 25% of patients respond to it.

Being able to predict who could benefit from this new discovery and the underlying mechanism of action would greatly benefit patients who gain no benefit from other modes of treatment.

For their research, the investigators recruited 60 patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

In a previous trial, they had determined that adding low doses of radiation to durvalumab encouraged cancer-free survival in most patients. Durvalumab is a medication that boosts one’s immunity. In this study, the investigators’ objective was to evaluate why some tumors didn’t respond to the treatment. They assessed pretreatment tumor biopsies for every patient and discovered their gene expression profiles.

Once this was done, the researchers compared the expression profiles of different tumors that had, through the dual treatment, displayed major pathologic response to those that did not. This led them to discover a set of genes that were linked to improved cell growth, suggesting that the tumors which responded to the combination therapy were very aggressive.

In addition to this, the investigators explored how gene expression profiles changed in the cancers prior to and after treatment was administered.

They discovered that combination therapy could reverse the gene set’s activity in tumors that had reached major pathological response and increase the activation of genes linked to cellular pathways involved in tissue repair and immunity. In their report, the researchers stated that the activity of this gene set, which correlated with response to therapy, was promising because doctors could use it to identify patients who would gain the most benefit from immunotherapy.

The scientists are now focused on testing whether tumors with aggressive gene signatures respond better to dual therapy in a larger study. The research’s findings were published in “Cell Medicine Reports.” The research was funded in part by grants from the defense department, National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Cancer Institute.

Authors involved in the study include Dr. Timothy E. McGraw, a professor of biochemistry in cardiothoracic surgery, and Dr. Nasser K. Altorki, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery and leader of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center’s Experimental therapeutics program.

As more information becomes known about the mechanisms through which tumors develop and spread, immunotherapies being developed by entities such as Scinai Immunotherapeutics Ltd. (NASDAQ: SCNI) could help more patients and improve the clinical outcomes of those who use these treatments.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Scinai Immunotherapeutics Ltd. (NASDAQ: SCNI) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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