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New Israeli cancer ‘directory’ will help doctors choose the right immunotherapy

Israeli scientists say they have found a way to match cancer patients more effectively with the right immunotherapy.

A new data platform will allow physicians around the world to capture biopsy data and receive information on the immunotherapy best suited for particular patients.

Scientists led by Professor Yardena Samuels of the Weizmann Institute of Science conducted an in-depth analysis to identify cancer hot spots – common clusters of cancerous mutations that show up on the surface of cancer cells.

They began to create a directory that matches hot spots with the most effective immunotherapy and documented their progress in a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

They hope that after further development and clinical testing, doctors around the world will be able to access the directory from their computers and use it to select the best immunotherapy.

Samuels told The Times of Israel that, in a proof of concept, the team has already identified the best immunotherapy for seven percent of melanoma cases, and are now working to match many other hot spots.

Illustration: A cancer patient receives immunotherapy. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

“We know what mutations a patient has from their biopsy, but that doesn’t necessarily tell us now which immunotherapy to use, Samuels said. “But with this new bioinformatics pipeline, the hope is that soon after patients arrive, we will be able to immediately select the appropriate immunotherapy suited to their precise cancer. In short, this should allow a much wider use of personalized medicine.

The study involved a large group of scientists from Israel and abroad. Among the Israeli academics were Dr Tamir Dingjan from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr Eilon Barnea and Professor Arie Admon from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Professor Cyrille Cohen from Bar Ilan University.

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