SAN DIEGO, CA, April 16, 2012 -- Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and Serametrix will collaborate on developing a diagnostic test for predicting individual clinical response to a novel immune therapy for brain cancer, it was announced today. The serum-based test is designed to determine patient immune responses from cancer immunotherapy, enabling clinicians to determine in the future which patients may be more likely to respond to this treatment regimen. 

The collaboration is being carried out as part of the Pediatric Cancer Immunotherapy Program at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. This program already offers cutting edge new therapies that are designed to boost the immune response to cancer cells. These therapies, which are aimed at children with relapsed tumors, include the use of stem cells to help stimulate an immune response to cancer proteins. “We know that stimulating anti-cancer immunity can be an effective way to treat cancer”, said Ken Lucas, M.D., and Director of Stem Cell Transplant at the Children’s Hospital, who is already running clinical trials to test the new drugs. “This collaboration with Serametrix will offer exciting insights into how this therapy works and whether individual clinical outcomes can be predicted prior to treatment”.

At Penn State Hershey there are novel immune-based therapies for pediatric patients with relapsed neuroblastoma and sarcoma. As part of this agreement Serametrix will analyze approximately 100 serum samples from patients enrolled onto these trials over the next year.

Serametrix Corporation has identified tumor antigen panels for predicting clinical response in a range of cancer types including melanoma, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and glioblastoma. The antigen panels include some Cancer/Testis antigens, such as NY-ESO-1, discovered at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in New York, which part-owns Serametrix. “We are learning a lot about why immunotherapy works in some patients but not others”, said Henry Hepburne-Scott, PhD, and Director of Business Development at Serametrix. “And it is increasingly evident that serum reactivity to certain tumor antigens can identify responsive patients even before treatment has begun”, he added.

Immunotherapies are proving highly effective in treating a range of cancer types but their potency and high cost mean that a personalized approach to their use is much needed.

Financial details of the collaboration between Penn State Hershey and Serametrix were not disclosed.

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