June 18, 2024

OncoHost: Finding New, Better Immunotherapies for Complex Cancers

Original source here.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, the world’s largest and most prestigious cancer research conference in the world, rolled up the tent earlier this month after a fascinating, inspiring and positively exhausting week in Chicago.

This year’s event attracted about 44,000 oncology professionals from across the globe and featured thousands of abstracts and more than 200 sessions focused on this year’s theme, The Art and Science of Cancer: From Comfort to Cure.

Among the most interesting companies in attendance was OncoHost.

Identifying patients who will benefit from immunotherapy is still a major challenge in clinical oncology. Most patients do not respond to these anti-cancer treatments, and some even display progression of disease while on treatment.

The average response rate is in the range of 20%; That is, approximately 1 in 5 patients respond positively to the treatment.

To avoid unnecessary treatment, delays in administration, adverse reactions and/or unnecessary costs, it is important to identify, in advance, patients who will respond to their proposed treatment plan.

For some treatments, biomarkers can help predict whether the patient will respond or not. But strong biomarkers are lacking for many cancer therapies, specifically for immunotherapy.

OncoHost’s mission is to overcome this issue. The technology company’s proprietary platform, PROphet®, is a plasma-based proteomic pattern recognition tool that combines system biology, bioinformatics, and machine learning to support clinical decision-making.

Requiring just a single, pre-treatment blood sample, PROphet® guides first-line immunotherapy treatment planning by identifying expression patterns in a panel of approximately 7,000 proteins and assigns a PROphet® score, a clinically validated metric reflecting the patient’s likelihood of obtaining clinical benefit (CB) from immunotherapy.

OncoHost’s use of proteomic pattern recognition allows clinicians to identify whether a patient should be treated with immunotherapy alone or in combination with chemotherapy, leading to more precise decision-making and reducing the administration of unnecessary therapies.

Simply stated, the report that the platform produces tells the physician which treatments will work best for each individual patient, based on the proteomic patterns in their blood sample. The platform’s initial offering is a test for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): PROphetNSCLC™.

The company’s CEO, Ofer Sharon, is a physician and entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in clinical research, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. He has made vital contributions to the acceleration of personalized medicine and oncology drug development.

Prior to joining OncoHost, Ofer served multiple roles in global pharmaceuticals, including AstraZeneca and MSD (Merck), and was part of the Keytruda clinical development and launch team.

He has co-founded several healthcare companies centered on bioinformatic and machine learning platforms for clinical deterioration, detection and early intervention.

The PROphet® platform was built, and is constantly being updated, with clinical data collected from OncoHost’s ongoing prospective, multinational, multicenter clinical trial with over 40 open sites. The trial has recruited more than 1,700 patients to date, making it one of the largest prospective cohorts in the precision oncology field.

Interim results have been published in multiple posters, abstracts, presentations, and papers, which can be viewed here.

OncoHost is a research-driven organization with a multi-disciplinary team of theoretical physicists, mathematicians, system and computational biologists, and clinicians. The company is backed by VCs and institutional investors and boasts a world-class scientific advisory board, an experienced management team and a strong IP standing.

Immunotherapy is one of the most interesting areas of study in the cancer sector now. As many of my readers know, I am alive because of an immunotherapy called CAR T, which I chose to do just five months ago.

My doctors told me I had literally just weeks to live when my long-slumbering lymphoma came back enraged. I chose to do immunotherapy. And I am now alive and well.

It’s also why I am the editor of this magazine. I want these companies to thrive. OncoHost has built a state-of-the-art technology presence that is transforming the approach to precision medicine for improved patient outcomes.

The company works to assess clinical benefit from Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICI’s), which are monoclonal antibodies targeting cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), or PD-1 ligand (PD-L1).

While PROphetNSCLC™ is the first indication, at this year’s ASCO OncoHost presented a poster highlighting the ability of the PROphet® platform to also predict clinical benefit from ICI-based therapies for melanoma and HPV-related cancers.

ICIs can lead to long-term anti-tumor responses by deactivating the brake mechanism in the immune system. In other words, they can potentially save your life and give you more years of life. A cure could be in the cards as we go farther down that road. That is of course the goal, always.

For this observational study, pre-treatment plasma samples and clinical data were collected from patients with metastatic melanoma and HPV-related cancers undergoing treatment with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor-based therapies.

HPV-related cancers included anogenital squamous cell carcinoma, cervical carcinoma, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

The presentation showcased the findings which demonstrate the potential of the PROphet Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) test in predicting ICI response for indications beyond just NSCLC, underscoring the promise of PROphet® in advancing precision medicine and the adaptability of PROphet® as the company works to provide treatment guidance for multiple indications.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Yale School of Medicine, and the Center for Immuno-Oncology, Center for Cancer Research of the National Cancer Institute.