Dr. Trevor Pugh

GENOMICS

Plays an Important Role in the Battle Against Cancer

Genomics, the study of genes and how they work, plays an important role in fighting cancer and a new clinical trial at The Princess Margaret is exploring this connection.

The Investigator-Initiated Phase 2 Study of Pembrolizumab Immunological Response Evaluation (INSPIRE) is a clinical trial under the direction of Dr. Lillian Siu that uses immunotherapy, a form of treatment that stimulates and unleashes the immune system to fight the cancer cells. She is evaluating the changes in the genetic signatures and immune landscapes in more than 100 patients with head and neck, breast, ovarian, melanoma and other advanced solid tumours.

The trial has Scientist Trevor Pugh, who directs The Princess Margaret Genomics Centre, particularly excited.

As part of this trial, Dr. Pugh's team is looking at what genes are expressed from the DNA of each tumour at various points in the disease to find recurrent patterns and potential resistance mechanisms. He hopes that looking at both the immune system and cancer cells can help determine how they will respond to treatment, and ultimately predict response with a single clinical biopsy.

“This gives us a hint of what the next generation of clinical trials is going to look like,” says Dr. Pugh. “We have to attack tumours on as many fronts as clinically possible.”

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