Immuno-oncology is the study and development of treatments that use the innate ability of the body’s immune system to attack and eradicate cancer. Research in this area has led to the development of immunotherapeutics which has revolutionised cancer treatment. The body’s ability to use its immune system in this fight is controlled by core genetic processes and the cellular machinery they encode. In recent years, NGS technologies have been used to understand the ways in which tumours evolve to evade the immune system and to analyse the determinants of an immunotherapy response.
Genomics Application in Immuno-oncology
- Whole genome and whole exome sequencing can be used to assess the tumour mutational burden (TMB). TMB measures the total number of mutations that result in altered proteins (neo-antigens) and is a clinical biomarker that can be used to inform research into and the treatment of cancer.
- Identifying neo-antigens assists in treatment decisions based on the predictive nature of certain mutations within oncogenes or tumour suppressor genes.