July 22, 2015
11 am to 12 pm EDT

Sponsored by
Personal Genome Diagnostics logo

Webinar Description:

Cancer immune therapies have recently demonstrated exciting, durable clinical benefits for a number of challenging cancers. Somatic genetic alterations in an individual's cancer cells encode neoantigens. Clinical responses to cancer immune therapies including T cell transfer and checkpoint blockade are primarily mediated by neoantigen specific reactivity. The recent advances in next-generation sequencing and computation prediction allows the rapid and affordable identification of neoantigens in individual patients, which have profoundly impacted immuno-oncology drug development. This webinar will highlight the applications of Next Generation Sequencing to immuno-oncology, including the identification of novel targets for cancer vaccines, stratification of patients who are most likely to benefit from a cancer immune therapy, and monitoring of response to cancer immune therapies.

Learning Objectives

Applications of cancer NGS testing and key considerations in the identification of neoantigens for:

  • Immuno-oncology research
  • Novel targets for cancer vaccines
  • Patient stratification
  • Response monitoring

Who Should Attend:

  • immuno-oncology
  • translational medicine
  • oncology research
  • target discovery
  • Cancer Vaccine development
  • T-cell Therapy


Luis DiazLuis, Diaz, Ph.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Personal Genome Diagnostics

Dr. Luis Diaz is a leading authority in oncology, having pioneered several genomic diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for cancer. He is an attending physician at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where he specializes in the treatment of pancreatic and colorectal cancers. He is currently a member of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics where he directs translational medicine and is the Director of the Swim Across America Lab. Dr. Diaz has undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan, and completed residency training at the Osler Medical Service at Johns Hopkins and medical oncology training at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Diaz is involved in near-patient translational studies with the goal of bringing diagnostic and therapeutic genomic strategies to patients with cancer. Most recently, our work has involved the clinical development of tumor-derived DNA as a biomarker for cancer screening, early detection, monitoring and measurement of early residual disease. The basis of this work is based on the well-accepted premise that cancer is defined by a discrete set of genetic alterations. This approach combines a next-generation genomic sequencing with novel digital techniques to count tumor-derived DNA fragments in complex mixtures of DNA. The mutations found in cancers are never found in normal cell populations and detection of these mutations therefore confers exquisite specificity to the assay. Accordingly, he demonstrated that the level of mutations in the circulation, also known as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), tracked with fluctuations in tumor burden in patients undergoing curative surgery for colorectal cancer. Most striking is the ability of ctDNA to accurately predict recurrence after surgery and monitor patients with undetectable CEA levels. This novel biomarker is based on personalized genomics that in essence provides a viral load equivalent for patients with solid tumors. The preliminary studies served as the basis for his most recent invention, the molecular pap smear, which is a promising approach for the early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers. This work was highlighted in the New York Times, NPR, CNN and the NBC nightly news.

Theresa ZhangTheresa Zhang, Ph.D.

VP of Research Services

Personal Genome Diagnostics

Dr. Zhang joined PGDx from Merck Research Laboratories, where she held positions of increasing responsibility for predictive biomarker identification and clinical implementation for oncology compounds for over a decade. During her tenure at Merck, Dr. Zhang oversaw the development of specially designed CLIA assays for use in cancer clinical trials and advanced a number of candidate biomarkers for clinical validation. She also managed multiple external collaborations. Dr. Zhang received BS degrees from Peking University and Bridgewater College and a PhD from the University of Virginia. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in bioinformatics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. Dr. Zhang is a co-author of numerous scientific publications and a frequent presenter at scientific meetings