What You Should Know:
– Physicians at the University of California, San Diego
(UCSD) School of Medicine and Cofactor Genomics ink a partnership to improve a
physician’s ability to predict tumor response to immunotherapy, specifically in
recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
– The data generated in this collaboration will further
expand clinical evidence presented by Washington University physicians, where
Cofactor’s technology showed superiority over the incumbent PD-L1 IHC assay in
predicting responders to therapy.
Physicians at the University of
California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and Cofactor Genomics, the company
bridging the precision medicine gap, today announced a partnership aimed at
improving a physician’s ability to predict tumor response to immunotherapy,
specifically in recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head
and neck (RM-HNSCC). Guiding and prioritizing therapy selection is especially
important given last year’s FDA
approval of pembrolizumab as a first line treatment for RM-HNSCC. The partnership
is championed by Ezra Cohen, MD, Chief of the Division of Hematology‐Oncology
at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, and leverages Cofactor’s recently-patented
Predictive Immune Modeling technology.
The terms of the partnership include providing Cofactor
Genomics with access to patient specimens and clinical metadata, a resource
well-curated by the team at UCSD. The data generated in this collaboration will
further expand clinical evidence presented earlier this year by Washington
University physicians, where Cofactor’s technology showed
superiority over the incumbent PD-L1 IHC assay in predicting responders to
The current clinical care pathway for recurrent and
metastatic head and neck cancer patients relies on using underpowered,
antiquated technologies for treatment decisions. New tools that provide
physicians with higher confidence in therapy selection are needed.
“Predicting tumor response prior to treatment is a necessary
part of the precision medicine challenge,” explained Dr. Cohen. “Working with
immune checkpoint inhibitors, a class of therapies that are already approved
and proven to work in a subset of patients, is a low-risk, high-reward
“Cofactor is approaching diagnostic development in a number of ways that are unique. Integrating multiple immune signals into a single clinical decision simultaneously simplifies and expands how we leverage this information,” noted Dr. Cohen.
Unlocking the Potential of Multidimensional Biomarkers
Multidimensional biomarkers have been described by many, including
the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Immune Biomarkers Task Force, as
the ideal approach to obtaining a complete view of the tumor microenvironment, necessary
for predicting immunotherapy response. Cofactor’s RM-HNSCC diagnostic
development is the outcome of Predictive Immune Modeling, which leverages
immune-specific multidimensional biomarkers. These biomarkers integrate the
distinct differences in the tumor profile between the tumors of responders and
non-responders to immunotherapy. RM-HNSCC is one of 16 indications approved for
treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors, the sum of which represents 50% of
U.S. cancer cases annually. Predictive diagnostics are an integral part of
achieving UCSD’s precision medicine goals, as supported by the Center
for Personalized Cancer Therapy.