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Personalis, Duke University, Olink Collaborate on Immunotherapy Markers in Gastric Cancer

NEW YORK – Personalis, Duke University, and Olink Proteomics have formed a research collaboration to identify biomarkers for guiding immunotherapy in gastroesophageal cancer.

The collaborators will study the genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic responses of gastroesophageal tumors following treatment with Merck's checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and compare the molecular profiles of responders and non-responders.

The project aims to identify compositive biomarkers for precision treatment strategies that improve the clinical management and outcomes of metastatic gastroesophageal cancer patients, The partners will use Menlo Park, California-based Personalis' ImmunoID NeXT Platform to characterize tumor genomic and transcriptomic alterations as well as differences between responders and non-responders and its NeXT Personal assay to analyze patient circulating tumor DNA to track molecular residual disease.

"Biomarkers that predict and characterize tumor responses to anti-PD-L1/PD-1 therapy remain poorly understood, largely due to the complex and multifaceted interactions between the tumor and immune system," Andrew Nixon, director of the Phase I Biomarker Laboratory at the Duke University School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Through comprehensive plasma and tumor immune profiling, we aim to clarify the interconnected roles of tumor genomics and proteomics, as well as the development of composite biomarkers to clinically predict and follow immunotherapy response."

The collaborators will also use Uppsala, Sweden-based Olink's Explore proteomic platform to analyze plasma samples and tumor tissues taken from metastatic gastroesophageal cancer patients. "This study has the potential to identify the mechanisms of immune resistance in metastatic gastroesophageal cancer, which may enable strategies to optimize response rates to existing immunotherapies and develop novel therapeutics that overcome resistance," Marijana Rucevic, senior scientific director at Olink, said in a statement.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.