The Exceptional Responders Initiative seeks to elucidate the common genetic and epigenetic context of patients with different types of cancer who respond exceptionally well to treatments against these diseases.
To elucidate the viability of this initiative and to proceed with the analysis and treatment of data, different archived samples of tumor tissue and healthy tissue (when possible), from patients with unusually deep or long-lasting responses to systemic cancer treatment were analyzed retrospectively. DNA and RNA were sequenced, and further epigenetic and immunohistochemical tests were performed to find possible molecular candidates responsible for this response, concluding that the samples and data obtained are valid for undertaking the study, as published in this article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Comparing data from molecular analyses of tumors in patients with an exceptional response with data from patients who received similar treatments can elucidate the molecular basis of exceptional responses. The results will provide information for the design of new drugs to mimic that response, to develop new therapies, or to increase the efficacy of existing ones.