Center for Immuno-Oncology

The Center for Immuno-Oncology (CIO) is a central hub within Dana-Farber for human immuno-oncology research. The CIO is uniquely positioned as a disease-agnostic center to provide correlative analysis and identify biomarkers of response, resistance, and toxicity in immunotherapy clinical trials. The Center aims to foster collaborative translational research among laboratory and clinical investigators across many different departments at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center in addition to external academic and industry partnerships. The CIO works in conjunction with the newly formed Center for Cancer Therapeutic Innovation (CCTI), which leads phase I clinical trials of novel therapies at Dana-Farber.

To facilitate cutting-edge translational clinical research, the CIO comprises five laboratories with expertise in the biobanking and analysis of samples from pan-cancer immuno-oncology trials, which are supported by bioinformatics and biostatistics to identify prognostic and predictive biomarkers.

CIO Immune Assessment Laboratory (IAL)

The Immune Assessment Laboratory (IAL) aims to provide researchers with access to the latest innovations in blood immune monitoring, such as mass cytometry (CyTOF), multi-parameter flow cytometry, Luminex FLEXMAP 3D and 16s gene sequencing. The IAL has banked and processed fresh blood from patients participating in over 60 immuno-oncology clinical trials (phase I-II), research collection protocols spanning over 15 types of cancer, and recently started banking stool samples for microbiome studies in the setting of IO therapy. These correlative studies have resulted in over 15 collaborative co-author papers in the last five years. The IAL is an integral member of an NIH Cancer Moonshot award known as “CIMAC” (Cancer Immune Monitoring and Analysis Center), providing CyTOF expertise to NCI clinical trials nationwide.

CIO Tissue Biomarker Laboratory (TBL)

The Tissue Biomarker Laboratory (TBL) collaborates with researchers to analyze the tumor immune microenvironment. They have established a powerful correlative biomarker discovery platform that includes chromogenic immunohistochemistry (IHC), multiplex immunofluorescence (mIF), multiplexed ion beam imagining (MIBI), plus Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) and the Nanostring gene expression analysis. Using this suite of assays, the TBL has assessed the tumor immune microenvironment in over 3,000 formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue biopsy samples from PI-initiated trials, industry sponsored trials and collaborations, and three large federal consortiums. The TBL is an integral member of three NIH cancer moonshot awards: i) CIMAC to provide image analysis to immuno-oncology trials nationwide; ii) Human Tumor Atlas Pilot Project (HTAPP); and iii) Human Tumor Atlas Network (HTAN), which together aim to develop and apply cutting-edge techniques in sequencing in the context of spatial imaging assays from clinical trial specimens.

CIO Translational Immunogenomics Laboratory (TIGL)

The Translational Immunogenomics Laboratory (TIGL) is a collaborative partner laboratory that focuses on the use of genomics, proteomics, molecular immunology and computational methods to study antigen-specific interactions and their involvement in the cellular and molecular pathways underlying anti-tumor immunity. TIGL, together with the Broad Institute, aims to provide researchers with access to bulk and single cell RNA sequencing, TCR sequencing, neoantigen prediction, and epitope-specific T cell-based assays.

CIO Computational Immuno-Oncology

The CIO Computational Immuno-Oncology Group works as an integrated part of the CIO to develop and apply novel bioinformatics, statistical, modeling, and machine learning methods and tools to analyze multi-dimensional datasets from immuno-oncology clinical trials and discovery research. This group comprises two PhD computational scientists who work closely with a highly experienced CIO biostatistician to provide guidance to researchers on experimental design, data interpretation, and correlative analysis of clinical outcomes.

CIO Banking and Data Abstraction (CBDA)

The CIO Banking and Data Abstraction Team (CBDA) is responsible for the management of non-therapeutic biospecimen banking trials, secondary use research, and medical record review protocols pertaining to pan-cancer immunotherapy-related research. Working cross-functionally with the IAL, TBL, CIO Computational, and in collaboration with the various Dana-Farber Disease Centers, the CBDA is responsible for the collection and triage of samples for exploratory translational research. In addition, the CBDA is responsible for retrospective clinical data trials, as well as the abstraction and collation of clinical data pertaining to biospecimens collected, necessary for the data interpretation of translational research experiments.

The CIO does not provide medical treatment or enroll patients in clinical trials.

CIO Awarded NIH Cancer Moonshot Award

In 2017, the CIO was awarded a prestigious multi-million-dollar NIH cancer moonshot award known as “CIMAC” (Cancer Immune Monitoring and Analysis Center) to provide comprehensive, standardized, and cutting-edge immune monitoring analysis to NCI clinical trials nationwide.

About the CIMAC-CIDC Network