Bioinformatics Seminars

Bioinformatics Seminar

Time: 10:45am Tuesdays.
Level 7 Seminar Room 2, WEHI1

13 November 2018

Exploring immune infiltration in cancer through transcriptomic data

Joseph Cursons
WEHI Bioinformatics

Immune checkpoint inhibition has revolutionised the treatment of melanoma and it offers great promise for a range of other cancers. Clinically-approved treatments currently focus on the PD-1 and CTLA-4 negative feedback mechanisms which modulate the activity of effector T cell populations. Given the wide range of intercellular signalling processes that are involved in robust immune activation, a range of immunotherapy targets are yet to be explored or fully elucidated.

In this talk I will outline the use of transcriptomic data to investigate immune infiltration within solid tumours - largely in the context of cutaneous melanoma. Robust anti-tumour immune activity has long been linked to improved patient survival, and I will discuss associations within the TCGA data that provide evidence for intercellular recruitment cascades mediating this effect. I will introduce the gene set scoring method singscore1 and outline how we use this approach to explore large cohorts of patient data and identify molecular features which may be promoting or suppressing immune activity. Our results show that the activity of immunosuppressive TGF-beta signalling pathways within tumour cells is important for risk stratification of patients with good immune activity which may inform strategies for combination therapies with immune checkpoint blockade.

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