UPMC, OmniSeq Collaborate on Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Trial

UPMC, OmniSeq Collaborate on Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Trial
Credit: Christoph Burgstedt /Getty Images

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) OmniSeq announced today will collaborate on a cancer clinical study. Under the deal, UMPC will use the RNA-seq gene expression profile assay for selecting immunotherapy combination in patients with recurrent/metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

The primary objective is to improve treatment by taking a more personalized approach to therapy selection to improve response rates and to further develop better predictive biomarkers of efficacy.

“We are excited for this collaboration and to be able to offer the gene expression profile technology to R/M HNSCC patients who have failed prior immunotherapy,” said Dr. Dan Zandberg, principal investigator and medical oncology co-leader of the Head & Neck Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “This trial represents an important first step towards taking a personalized approach to each patient to determine the best combination immunotherapy regimen to use.”

The clinical trial, if successful, will help to fill the need for better therapeutics for patients with HNSCC and other solid tumors after failure of response to anti-PD-1 mAb immunotherapy. The Phase II trial will investigate personalized immunotherapy in R/M HNSCC, by evaluating a patient’s tumor microenvironment via immune gene expression by RNA-seq.  The intent is to use this information to combine either ipilimumab or relatlimab with nivolumab in patients with R/M HNSCC patients that have failed prior immunotherapy.

The primary objective is the probability of response when combination immunotherapy treatment is selected based on immune gene expression in R/M HNSCC patients who have progressed on prior anti-PD-1 mAb immunotherapy.

“OmniSeq is pleased that our RNA-seq gene expression assay will be leveraged in Dr. Zandberg’s Phase II trial for patient stratification,” said Jeffrey Conroy, OmniSeq’s Chief Scientific Officer. “Our RNA-seq platform allows data-driven matching of HNSCC patients to the appropriate investigational combination therapy based on the immunological tumor landscape.”

Patients who meet eligibility criteria will have tumor tissue obtained and analysis will include OmniSeq’s immune gene expression to determine which drug (either Relatlimab or Ipilimumab) will be combined with Nivolumab for treatment.