Immunotoxicity and autoimmune-like response are significant problems hindering widespread use of cancer therapies that harness the body’s own immune system. A major player in the immune response are cytokines, substances secreted by some immune cells to trigger other cells in response to a signal, such as recognition of a foreign body.
To understand this response, the SU2C Single-Cell Multi-omics Convergence Research Team is assessing the full spectrum of cytokine functions in patients prior to treatment and matching these with patient responses to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T therapy. The team is then evaluating the function of the infused CAR T cells to determine the mechanisms of efficacy and/or immune toxicity. Researchers are also identifying molecular characteristics underlying the efficacy and toxicity of CAR T therapy and looking for biomarkers by examining their data using computational models and machine learning.
The team’s aim is to create a tool that clinicians can use to mitigate patient risk associated with CAR T therapies while improving the chances of therapeutic success.