Oslo, September 20, 2023 - NEC OncoImmunity AS (NOI) today announced it has published a study that describes the use of its artificial intelligence (AI) based neoantigen prediction technology to demonstrate that high neoantigen quality in conjunction with infiltration of immune cells in tumors correlates with improved progression free survival (PFS) in sarcoma patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors.
The authors sequenced tumor samples and blood from patients who participated in the pivotal SARC028 clinical trial and received the pembrolizumab checkpoint inhibition therapy. They then used their AI-based neoantigen prediction technology, the NEC Immune Profiler, to investigate whether high quality neoantigens in cooperation with the immune cell composition in the tumor improved PFS. Their analysis suggested that the presence of high quality neoantigens together with T cells in tumors are key prognostic markers of PFS. This trend was not observed with the combined presence of T cells and high tumor mutational burden, highlighting the importance of accurate and clinically relevant neoantigen prediction.
The study which was published in Frontiers in Immunology was performed in collaboration with Oslo University Hospital (OUH) in addition to other collaborators from the SARC028 sarcoma clinical trial, including MD Anderson and the University of Pittsburgh Medical center. Professor Ola Myklebost, one of the senior authors in the paper at OUH, and who is currently serving as Professor of molecular oncology at the University of Bergen said:
“The heterogeneity and rarity of sarcomas makes it challenging to develop successful therapies for sarcoma patients. This research addresses the need to develop further insights into potential biomarkers that may determine which patients are most likely to benefit from precision immunotherapy in such rare cancers.”
While the findings are promising, the published study acknowledges the need for further research and validation with larger sample sizes. The NEC researchers believe that AI can play a future role in guiding future personalized medicine and cancer diagnostics, ultimately improving outcomes for patients with cancer.
“Although our findings are based on a small number of patients, and this trend certainly needs to be corroborated in future studies, this work is potentially an important demonstration of how AI may guide future clinical trials and biomarker discovery. These and future advances in this field may lead to improved clinical outcome for patients suffering from rare cancers treated with cancer immunotherapy”
Said, Dr. Trevor Clancy, Chief Scientific Officer at NEC OncoImmunity, and a senior author in the study.
Title: The interplay between neoantigens and immune cells in sarcomas treated with checkpoint inhibition
Authors: Irantzu Anzar, Brandon Malone, Pubudu Samarakoon, Ioannis Vardaxis, Boris Simovski, Hugues Fontenelle, Leonardo A Meza-Zepeda, Richard Stratford, Emily Z Keung, Melissa Burgess, Hussein A. Tawbi, Ola Myklebost, Trevor Clancy
About NEC OncoImmunity AS
NEC OncoImmunity AS is an artificial intelligence (AI) driven biotech company offering proprietary machine-learning based software, which addresses the key knowledge gaps in the prediction of bona fide immunogenic antigens for personalized cancer immunotherapy and infectious disease vaccines. The AI technology can be used to identify optimal antigen/epitope targets for infectious disease vaccines, truly personalized cancer vaccines & Tcell therapies in a clinically actionable timeframe, and also facilitate effective patient selection for cancer immunotherapy. For more information, visit NEC OncoImmunity AS at http://www.oncoimmunity.com/.