What is Immune Monitoring?
Immune monitoring provides insight into a patient’s own immune response over the course of a treatment. Information such as whether immune cells are functional or non-functional, and what specific proteins the immune cells can recognize on the cancer cell, can be essential in understanding if (and how) a treatment is working.
Personalized medicine is an emerging approach to health care in which medical decisions and treatments are tailored to the individual patient. Different properties of a patient’s cancer and their own immune system can have an enormous impact on a patient’s specific ability to mount a strong immune response against the cancer and to respond to a particular therapy. Understanding how different treatments impact the immune response against a patient’s own cancer is important for working towards improving cancer therapy.
In order to perform immune monitoring, blood or tumor tissue samples are taken from patients. Depending on the study, this can be done before, during or after the patient receives immune therapy (or at all three times). Through this immune profiling approach, we can test and define properties of the patient’s cells that correspond with successful or unsuccessful therapy. This information will help work towards:
- Uncovering ways to prevent and manage side effects of therapies.
- Discovering ways to know early during the course of treatment, whether a patient will go on to benefit from that treatment.
- Predicting which combinations of therapies have the best chance at success.
- Designing new therapies.
Our program has an Immune Monitoring Team that is dedicated to performing immune monitoring of patients receiving treatment for their cancer.