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The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg and Protagen AG Extend Their Collaboration to Investigate the Immuno-Competence of Urothelial Cancer Patients Receiving Immunotherapy

The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelbergand Protagen AG today announced a collaboration to utilize Protagen’s Cancer Immunotherapy Array to identify biomarkers that predict therapeutic response and the incidence of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in urothelial carcinoma patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors.

In recent years, checkpoint inhibitors have changed treatment paradigms in cancer. They offer an enormous potential in many indications, including melanoma, lung, and urothelial carcinoma. Yet, two challenges remain: only a subset of patients respond to treatment, and checkpoint inhibitors trigger (often severe) immune-related Adverse Events (irAEs). Through this collaboration, Protagen and the NCT Heidelberg will utilize Protagen's Cancer Immunotherapy Array to address these challenges.

Prof. Carsten Grüllich from the NCT Heidelberg, stated: “Checkpoint inhibitors offer the chance to significantly improve overall survival for cancer patients, and can potentially even cure cancer in some cases. In urothelial carcinoma especially, they can be very successful in a subset of patients, however certain subsets suffer from drug-related toxicities. This makes it vital that we understand better which patients are likely to respond and/or suffer from irAEs. Utilizing Protagen’s Cancer Immunotherapy Array will enable us to establish an immune-profile for each patient, meaning we can assess their immuno-competence to help fight their cancer.”

Dr. Peter Schulz-Knappe, Protagen’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented: “Our unique Cancer Immunotherapy Array has already demonstrated its potential in malignant melanoma and prostate cancer patients. The extension into urothelial carcinoma is our next step into an indication where cancer immunotherapies have been successful, but also face significant response and toxicity challenges. We believe that applying our technology will result in improved patient selection for novel immunotherapies and better management of risks associated with therapy. We feel privileged that Prof. Grüllich and the NCT Heidelberg share this vision, and are excited about the collaboration.”

About the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT)

The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg is a joint institution of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) and German Cancer Aid. The NCT's goal is to link promising approaches from cancer research with patient care from diagnosis to treatment, aftercare and prevention. The interdisciplinary tumor outpatient clinic is the central element of the NCT. Here the patients benefit from an individual treatment plan prepared in a timely manner in interdisciplinary expert tumor boards. Participation in clinical studies provides access to innovative biomarker strategies and therapies. The NCT thereby acts as a pioneering platform that translates novel research results from the laboratory into clinical practice. The NCT also cooperates with self-help groups and supports them in their work. Since 2015, a second site for the NCT beside Heidelberg has been under development in Dresden.

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About Protagen

Protagen is dedicated to the development of powerful precision diagnostic tools that aid successful therapeutic development and facilitate improved treatment strategies in the areas of Immuno-Oncology and Autoimmune Disease.

Using its proprietary biomarker discovery platform, SeroTag®, and its portfolio of NavigAID patient stratification products, Protagen is able to identify valuable biomarkers that support the development of personalized therapies.

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Last Updated: 19-Oct-2018