BostonGene and Massachusetts General Hospital to Collaborate on Multiple Follicular Lymphoma Research Projects

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

BostonGene Corporation, a biomedical software company committed to defining optimal precision medicine-based therapies for cancer patients, today announced two research collaborations with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the largest hospital-based research program in the U.S. that delivers care grounded in leading-edge research, advanced treatment offerings and the latest clinical trials. The collaborations are designed to explore the role of tumor genetics and the tumor microenvironment of patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) and to understand their impact on disease transformation and response to treatment.

An indolent B-cell lymphoma, FL can transform into an aggressive lymphoma; however, the underlying causes of transformation remain unknown. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms and the role of the microenvironment in this process, Abner Louissaint MD, PhD, of the Department of Pathology at the MGH, developed a unique PDX mouse model of FL transformation. In support of this work, BostonGene performs large-scale analytics utilizing next generation sequencing (NGS data) and multiplex immunofluorescence (MxIF) imaging to provide insight into the cellular composition and spatial architecture of the reconstructed patient tumor and microenvironment in these PDX mouse models. BostonGene computational modeling of the molecular profiles of the primary patient FL tumors and the PDX tumors uncovers which patients may undergo transformation. This collaborative project drives the utilization of FL PDX mouse models in the personalization of therapy, the discovery of potential therapies for transformed FL, and the identification of biomarkers of transformation.

A second study focuses on the elucidation of the role of tumor microenvironment on FL patients’ response to treatments. Jacob Soumerai, MD, a clinical lymphoma investigator at the MGH Cancer Center, in collaboration with Dr. Louissaint are evaluating the influence of tumor genetics and tumor microenvironment composition on FL patient response and the development of resistance to the combinatorial therapy of rituximab and umbralisib, a PI3Kδ inhibitor. As part of this study, BostonGene provides integrated transcriptomic and genomic analysis of FL patients treated with this combination therapy such as the identification of somatic alterations, evaluation of gene expression, estimation of tumor heterogeneity, microenvironment classification and neoantigen prediction. This work will determine biomarkers of FL patient response to PI3Kδ inhibition, ultimately improving the clinical outcomes of this patient population.

“By using an analytical approach to further understand the cellular composition of patients with follicular lymphoma and identify biomarker response to therapy, we are hopeful that we can be better informed when making individual treatment decisions,” said Dr. Louissaint, who is also an assistant professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School.

“We’re proud to collaborate with MGH by providing next-generation multi-platform analytics to evaluate the molecular and immunologic profiles of follicular lymphoma patients,” said Nathan Fowler, MD, Chief Medical Officer at BostonGene. “Our analysis will define genomic and transcriptional alterations that serve as predictive biomarkers of response and resistance to therapy, enabling doctors to personalize treatment plans.”

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