dr. Eufra Van Damme (MD)
Doctoral fellow - Lab of Translational Onco-genomics and Bio-informatics, Center for Medical Genetics (UGent)
Aspirant – Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO)
Internal Medicine Resident - Department of Medical Oncology, Ghent University Hospital
Principal investigators: prof. Katleen De Preter (PhD) and prof. Sylvie Rottey (MD, PhD)
An increasing number of cancer patients undergoes treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), hence, only a fraction of the patients will respond. Nevertheless, existing predictive biomarkers cannot accurately discriminate non-responder from responder patients and require invasive tumor tissue sampling. A group of these ICI treated patients develop immune-related adverse effects (irAEs). Also for irAEs no accurate predictive biomarkers currently exist. Recently, evidence accumulated that tumor regression as well as toxicity under ICIs is correlated with changes in specific immune cells in the peripheral blood.
We aim to develop a blood-based test that interrogates these systemic immune profile signatures. My host lab optimized a transcriptome and deconvolution-based method to interrogate immune cell proportions in whole blood samples of ICI treated lung cancer patients. I will use this strategy in both melanoma and renal cell carcinoma patients to identify and quantify common and distinct immune cell types that are predictive for response. On top, I will study the relation of toxicities with the systemic immune cell proportions.
In conclusion, this research project will bring us closer to deliver non- invasive tests for immunotherapy-treated patients.
- Research stay, September 2017, European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA)
- Master of Medicine, 2019, UGent, summa cum laude
- Master in Specialized Medicine - Internal Medicine, 2019-2021, AZ Delta