"Personalized Cancer Vaccines Benefit From Considering Nearby Variants in Peptides" - Grace Thomas
Researchers have discovered the value of considering variants located near tumor variants of interest in designing neoantigens for use in personalized cancer immunotherapies. In a paper published in Nature Genetics, the researchers showed that failing to consider proximal variants can adversely affect the binding abilities of neoantigenic peptides that are designed for use in personalized cancer vaccines. At least one existing method avoids missing potentially important variation by looking at RNA sequence. That tool, Vaxrank, was developed by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Medical University of South Carolina. "If you look at every mutation in the cancer and think about what it is doing, a large fraction of the time that will lead you in the correct direction, but a small fraction of the time, you are missing a co-occurrence of mutations,” said Alex Rubinsteyn, PhD, instructor in the department of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a researcher in Mount Sinai’s OpenVax laboratory. This can be "either the co-occurrence of cancer mutations with each other, which happens at a surprisingly high rate, or a co-occurrence of a somatic mutation with a germline variant in that patient."
— Alex Rubinsteyn, PhD, Instructor, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai