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#5 - Dr. Ezra Cohen Presents Personalized Cancer Vaccines [Kasey Altman Hackathon]

Thanks again for your interest in the Kasey Altman hackathon to find the best next treatment for this rare cancer patient. This is our weekly update (#5), especially for those who were unable to join us in person on Thursday (July 1). This meeting featured a presentation by Dr. Ezra Cohen of UCSD, who is leading the personalized cancer vaccine clinical trial that Kasey will be entering in October.

Dr. Cohen’s Presentation: Personalized Cancer Vaccines Are a Promising New Approach to Many Cancers

Dr. Cohen spoke for about 20 minutes to introduce his experience with personalized cancer vaccines, and then answered questions for about 10 minutes. He described the process of identifying and verifying neoantigens (antigens are structures on the surface of cancer cells, and neoantigens are antigens which are abnormal), which has been done successfully across a long list of tumor types, to which sarcoma will now be added. Dr. Cohen focused on “immune editing”: the ability to target and eliminate identified antigens. He also explained the changes that have been made to the process as they have gained experience, creating an Arm C and Arm D. Arm D is the trial that Kasey will enter, as it is designed for patients with no evidence of disease, but a high probability of recurrence. It has a stronger vaccine dose and no pembrolizumab.

You can see his slides (pdf) and a recording below.

Roundtable Discussion: Tests and Treatments Update

In the open roundtable discussion after Dr. Cohen left, Delsee reiterated that the Tempus whole exome analysis should be ready in a week or two, and she introduced Filtricine, which offers a personalized nutrition approach to starve cancer cells. Filtricine is a candidate therapy for Kasey in the month between the end of her two months of chemotherapy and the start of her personalized cancer vaccine trial in October.

In Closing: Our Requests

  • Please share your specific questions, comments, or suggestions regarding Dr. Cohen’s personalized neoantigen vaccine via our online discussion platform (Slack). He is very open to feedback.

  • Is there anything you recommend Kasey minimize, avoid, or increase regarding her dietary intake over the next four+ months? (Please comment on Slack.)

  • Please review the working documents on Kasey’s possible treatments (here), including the personalized neoantigen clinical trial, and edit and comment.


Kasey Altman, Delsee Altman, Lupe Montes, and Brad Power

Update + Dr. Cohen's Presentation (13 Mins)

Q&A + Discussion (29 Mins)


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