WALTHAM, Mass • 2024-05-14

BostonGene Announces Publication and Journal Cover Feature in Cancer Cell that Unveils a New Immune System Profiling Platform Stratifying Cancer Patients by Treatment Response

Study demonstrates the potential of a blood test as a versatile tool for categorizing cancer patients into therapy response groups by utilizing immunological variations in peripheral blood

BostonGene, a leading provider of AI-driven molecular and immune profiling solutions, today announced the publication, “Comprehensive peripheral blood immunoprofiling reveals five immunotypes with immunotherapy response characteristics in patients with cancer” in Cancer Cell, the premier scientific journal to publish articles with significant advances in cancer research and oncology. This study describes the development of a platform for patient immune system profiling, establishing a novel classification and scoring system that correlates systemic immunity with patient responses to various cancer treatments, highlighting a new discovery for drug development and clinical care. This groundbreaking innovative solution is based on a blood test coupled with powerful proprietary software and bioanalytics from BostonGene.

Individuals possess diverse and dynamic immune systems that are continuously influenced by factors such as aging, infections, metabolic stress and chronic diseases like cancer.  Additionally, disease progression response is affected by the recruitment of immune cells into the tumor and treatments, like immunotherapy, have profound effects on the immune system as well. In 2021, BostonGene published a pivotal study in Cancer Cell, revealing the correlation between four conserved tumor microenvironment types to patient responses to immunotherapy. The following year, the cellular deconvolution algorithm, KassandraTM, was developed and introduced in Cancer Cell as a tool to precisely map immune cell distribution within and outside tumor tissues. However, a comprehensive evaluation of a cancer patient's disease necessitates examining more than just the tumor. The lack of comprehensive diagnostics and standardized analytical models for assessing the status of a patient's immune system has impeded the widespread adoption of immune system profiling for monitoring treatment and predicting efficacy in cancer patients. To address this unmet need, BostonGene developed an immune system profiling platform using machine learning integration of multiparametric flow cytometry and RNAseq data, characterizing the immune systems of cancer patients. This discovery, facilitated by transformative publications on the tumor microenvironment (TME) and cellular deconvolution, will enable the practical integration of comprehensive genomic profiling of a patient’s tumor and TME, with an analysis of the patient’s immune system for the most detailed picture of the molecular and immune features driving their disease to date. 

“Even with advances in immune-oncology and immune checkpoints inhibitors, one of the key barriers in precision oncology is our current inability to comprehensively and effectively assess the status of the immune system, which significantly limits our ability to monitor treatment response,” said Joe Lennerz, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at BostonGene. “Addressing this challenge is essential to unlocking the full potential of immunotherapies and revolutionizing cancer care by prescribing the right treatment and/or predicting the likelihood of treatment success, thereby ensuring optimized patient outcomes.”

“This study demonstrates the potential of a blood test as a tool for categorizing cancer patients into therapy response groups. These findings could provide clinicians with insights into personalized treatment options," said Adam Luginbuhl, MD, FACS Professor and Leader of Head and Neck Disease Group, Director of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Tumor Ecology and Microenvironment at Thomas Jefferson University.

Using this immune system profiling platform and the cellular deconvolution tool KassandraTM, we evaluated immune profiles from the peripheral blood of nearly 20,000 patients to establish a model of the immune system that contained five categories with functional significance. These categories were conserved across different disease states and diagnoses. Continuous immunotype signature scores were then derived from these categories to correlate a patient’s systemic immunity with patient responses to different cancer treatments, including immunotherapy. Subsequently, we demonstrated the potential clinical utility of this approach in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy by identifying therapy responders and non-therapy responders using only immune cells profiled from the peripheral blood.

"As advancements in cancer treatment continue to evolve, understanding the complexities of the immune system is paramount. Our findings unveil critical insights into peripheral blood immunotypes and their correlation with immunotherapy responses in cancer patients. Identifying five distinct immunotypes shows an intricate interplay between immune cell heterogeneity and treatment efficacy. With a simple blood test, we can empower clinicians to monitor the immune system, expand the toolkit for precision oncology and drive the next generation of biomarker discovery in immunotherapy clinical trials," said Nathan Fowler, MD, Chief Medical Officer at BostonGene.

BostonGene's artwork was selected for the cover of the May issue of Cancer Cell. The cover art portrays our immunotypes as five different stations on a railway map, each within a characteristic landscape: from a fertile, green pasture representing the states with the greatest response potential to an inhospitable desert representing the most depleted. The trains moving between these stations illustrate the dynamic nature of one's immune system, which can dynamically move between these states depending on one's circumstances.

About BostonGene Corporation

BostonGene has a mission to provide transformative, AI-integrated molecular analytics and biomarker discovery for precision matching of therapies to improve the lives of patients living with cancer and other immune-related diseases. BostonGene offers customized client solutions using a multi-omic approach prioritized for real-world impact, optimizing standard-of-care therapies, accelerating research and delivering cost-effective, measurable data-driven results. BostonGene’s tests reveal key drivers of each patient’s unique disease profile, including an in-depth analysis of the immune microenvironment, actionable mutations, biomarkers of response to diverse therapies and recommended treatments. Through these comprehensive analyses, BostonGene’s tests generate a personalized roadmap for therapeutic decision-making for each patient. For more information, visit BostonGene at http://www.BostonGene.com.

Erin O’Reilly

Senior Director