In a paper published in the January 5, 2018 issue of Science, a team of University of Chicago researchers led by Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD, demonstrated a strong link between certain strains of human gut bacteria and success rates for immunotherapy treatments for advanced melanoma.
The CRI’s Manager of Bioinformatics Riyue Bao, PhD, played a key role as coauthor of this paper. Riyue conducted bioinformatics analysis of microbiome and genomic data to explore the differences in the microbial environments of patients who did and did not respond to treatment, as well as integrating multiple types of microbial and genomics data to identify molecular alterations associated with clinical outcome. She also conducted statistical analysis of clinical data used in the study, developed new approaches for interpretation of the analysis results, and contributed to writing the paper.
The results of this study have the potential to improve cancer treatment by predicting which patients will respond well to certain therapies, as well as opening the door to probiotic treatments that could enhance the effects of immunotherapy drugs.