Cancer Immunology and Immunogenomics: Stratification of Benefit from Immunotherapy in Breast Cancer

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Dr. Mariam Al-Muftah’s research team has been involved in the research for understanding cancer immunology to enhance cancer immunotherapy outcomes. Much progress has been made in the past decades in discovering and approving immune checkpoint inhibitor agents as cancer immunotherapies. Nevertheless, there has been a shortcoming in the research from a subset of patients' responses. Single biomarkers have shown limitations in predicting response to immunotherapy and capturing the complexity of the tumor microenvironment. One of the areas Dr. Al-Muftah’s team is focused on is the identification and validation of gene/immune signatures as biomarkers. This is achieved through the collaboration with well-established biomarkers, for the classification of patients’ eligibility in terms of deriving benefit from cancer immunotherapy, with a focus on triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The use of immunotherapy (anti-PD-L1) for the treatment of metastatic TNBC has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This type of cancer shows a relatively higher prevalence in the Middle East, imposing a high burden and challenge on the healthcare systems. This translational research team aims to provide valuable knowledge and insight into overcoming the challenges associated with the immunologic treatment of TNBC - thus enhancing clinical practice and improving patient survival.

Latest Publications

  • Jingxuan Shan, Mariam Al Muftah, Moza Al-Kowari, Sirin Abuaqel, Khalid Al-Rumaihi, Issam Al-Bozom, Pu Li, and Lotfi Chouchane (2019). Targeting Wnt/EZH2/microRNA-708 signaling pathway inhibits neuroendocrine differentiation in prostate cancer. Cell Death Differ; 5(1): 139DOI: 10.1038/s41420-019-0218-y
  • Konduru Sastry, Mariam AL-Muftah, Pu Li, Dhanya Kizhakayil, Moza AL-Kowari, George Kulik, Abdelali Haoudi, Lotfi Chouchane (2014). Targeting proapoptotic protein BAD inhibits survival and self-renewal of cancer stem cell. Cell Death Differ; 21(12): 1936-49. DOI: 10.1038/cdd.2014.140
  • Castro FV, Al-Muftah M, Mulryan K, Jiang HR, Drijfhout JW, Ali S, Rutkowski AJ, Kalaitsidou M, Gilham DE, Stern PL (2012). Regulation of Autologous Immunity to the Mouse 5T4 Oncofoetal Antigen; implications for Immunotherapy. Cancer Immunol Immunother; 61(7): 1005-18. DOI: 10.1007/s00262-011-1167-3
  • Southgate TD, McGinn OJ, Castro FV, Rutkowski AJ, Al-Muftah M, Marinov G, Smethurst GJ, Shaw D, Ward CM, Miller CJ, Stern PL (2010). CXCR4 Mediated Chemotaxis Is Regulated by 5T4 Oncofoetal Glycoprotein in Mouse Embryonic Cell. PLoS One; 5(4): e9982. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009982