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BostonGene Helping MassGeneral Improve Understanding of Follicular Lymphoma Progression, Treatment

NEW YORK – Biomedical software firm BostonGene on Tuesday said it is involved in two Massachusetts General Hospital projects, in which researchers are studying how tumor genetics and microenvironments promote follicular lymphoma progression and influence patients' ability to respond to treatment.

Follicular lymphoma is commonly a slow-growing disease but can transform into an aggressive subtype in some patients. The biological causes of this transformation, however, aren't well understood.

Abner Louissaint, director of hematology and assistant in pathology at MGH, has developed a patient-derived xenograft mouse model to capture the changes. BostonGene will elucidate the cellular composition and spatial architecture of these tumor models by performing data analytics on next-generation sequencing and multiplex immunofluorescence imaging data. This analysis, in turn, may pinpoint biomarkers that help researchers identify which follicular lymphoma patients will develop aggressive disease and personalize their treatment.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based BostonGene will support another study conducted by Jacob Soumerai, a clinical lymphoma investigator at the MGH Cancer Center, who is working with Louissaint to explore how follicular lymphoma patients' tumor genetics and microenvironment composition impact their treatment responses and resistance to the combination of rituximab (Genentech/Biogen's Rituxan) and the PI3K inhibitor umbralisib (TG Therapeutics' Ukoniq).

BostonGene will conduct integrated transcriptomic and genomic analysis of patients receiving this regimen to classify the tumor microenvironment, capture tumor heterogeneity, and identify somatic alterations, neoantigens, and gene expression patterns. This analysis, the company hopes, will help researchers home in on biomarkers predictive of treatment benefit.

"By using an analytical approach to further understand the cellular composition of patients with follicular lymphoma and identify biomarker response to therapy, we are hopeful that we can be better informed when making individual treatment decisions," Louissaint said in a statement.

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