Biomarkers are molecular measures of cancer and immune activity. Consequently, well-chosen biomarkers can help predict how patients might respond to certain therapies and allow doctors to monitor tumor responses during treatment. Dr. Dong recently discovered one such biomarker―Bim―that provides valuable information on melanoma patients undergoing immunotherapy. He’s learned that patients whose T cells had the highest levels of Bim before treatment were most likely to respond to anti-PD-1 checkpoint immunotherapy. Additionally, these Bim levels dropped in patients who responded successfully to treatment, even before traditional methods detected tumor shrinkage. Dr. Dong is currently validating the Bim biomarker with more patients, which may enable doctors to use this knowledge to improve outcomes in melanoma patients.
When I was trained as an oncological surgeon, the question my patients asked me the most after surgery was: how long can I live from now on? Most of the time, I felt frustrated. I didn’t want to discourage them, but there weren’t any other therapeutic options for them. Now, through immunotherapy, I work to find better options for patients.
Projects and Grants
Monitoring T cell responses during anti-PD-1 therapy
Mayo Clinic | Melanoma | 2015
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