Interdisciplinary Seminar Series

Title: Optimization of personalized therapies for anticancer treatment

Speaker: Alexei Vazquez, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Date: Monday, November 12, 2012 11:00am - 12:00pm

Location: DIMACS Center, CoRE Bldg, Room 433*, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ

*note room change


As today, there are hundreds of targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer, many of which have companion biomarkers that are in use to inform treatment decisions. If we would consider this whole arsenal of targeted therapies as a treatment option for every patient, very soon we will reach a scenario where each patient is positive for several markers suggesting their treatment with several targeted therapies. Given the documented side effects of anticancer drugs, it is clear that such a strategy is unfeasible. Here, we propose a strategy that optimizes the design of combinatorial therapies to achieve the best respond rates with the minimal toxicity. In this methodology markers are assigned to drugs such that we achieve a high overall response rate while using personalized combinations of minimal size. We tested this methodology in an in silico cancer patient cohort, constructed from in vitro data for 638 cell lines and 131 drugs reported by the Sanger Institute. Our analysis indicates that, even in the context of personalized medicine, combinations of three or more drugs are required to achieve high response rates. Furthermore, patient-to-patient variations in pharmacokinetics have a significant impact in the overall response rate. A 10 fold increase in the pharmacokinetics variations resulted in a drop of 10% in the overall response rate independently of the maximum combination size allowed. The design of optimal combinatorial therapy for anticancer treatment requires a transition from the one-drug/one-biomarker approach to global strategies that simultaneously assign makers to a catalog of drugs. The methodology reported here provides a framework to achieve this transition.

Slides: Optimization of personalized therapies for anticancer treatment

DIMACS/CCICADA Interdisciplinary Series, Complete Fall Calendar 2012