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Protein biomarkers in plasma: revealing biological insights into the tumor microenvironment

Immunotherapy has become a pillar of cancer treatment, although the majority of patients treated with immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) do not generate durable treatment responses, acquire resistance or are limited by treatment-related toxicities.

There is a critical need to identify early non-invasive biomarkers of response and to improve our understanding of the mechanisms that drive treatment failure. Due to the complex relationship between the host immune response and biology of tumors, multiomic approaches are often required to understand the molecular basis for non-response to ICB. Blood plasma proteomic analyses allows longitudinal assessment of the immune system activation and real-time monitoring of the treatment dynamics.

Leveraging proteins in circulation with single-cell RNA-sequencing data of tumor biopsies can generate further biological insight into the tumor-intrinsic response to immunotherapy. In this webinar, two respected scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, Genevieve Boland and Arnav Mehta will tell us how an extensive plasma proteomic analysis revealed biological insights about the tumor microenvironment in melanoma patients after immune checkpoint blockade and helped them to identify composite biomarkers to better predict sensitivity and response to immunotherapy.

Dr Genevieve Boland

Surgical Oncologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Genevieve M. Boland, MD, PhD, FACS is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Section Head of Melanoma/Sarcoma Surgery, and Surgical Director of the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  Her primary clinical focus is on melanoma and cutaneous oncology.

She undertook combined MD/PhD training, completing a PhD in Cell and Tissue Engineering at the National Institutes of Health focusing on signaling pathways in adult, human mesenchymal stem cells. She graduated cum laude from Thomas Jefferson University as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society and completed her general surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital. Following this, she completed a clinical fellowship in Complex General Surgical Oncology and a combined research fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is focused on the clinical management of skin cancer patients. She is board certified in General Surgery and Complex General Surgical Oncology, and she is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Boland has received research support from many groups including the American Surgical Association Foundation Fellowship, the Association of Women Surgeons Research Fellowship, the Harvard Catalyst Medical Research Investigator Training Award, the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Foundation Fellowship, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Melanoma Research Foundation Breakthrough Consortium, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense. She is Director of the Surgical Oncology Research Laboratories and Director of the Therapeutic Intralesional Program where she is building a portfolio of direct-to-tumor therapies across multiple tumor types. She is also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Her laboratory is currently focused on molecular profiling of melanoma, characterization of molecular and immunological changes that occur during immunotherapy, and the identification of circulating biomarkers of cancer.

Dr Arnav Mehta

Postdoctoral Researcher, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Dr. Mehta is an oncologist, immunologist, and mathematician who is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Nir Hacohen and Eric Lander’s labs at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a clinical fellow in hematology/oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Partners CancerCare. Prior to his current position, he obtained his undergraduate degrees at Duke University studying mathematics and chemistry, his M.D. at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. in biology and bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology under the guidance of Nobel laureate David Baltimore. He completed his internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Stanbury Physician-Scientist Pathway program. His current interests lie at the intersection of tumor immunology and computational biology, with a focus on building new tools for single-cell genomics studies in tumors.


Dr Genevieve Boland
Surgical Oncologist, Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr Arnav Mehta
Postdoctoral Researcher, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard