Researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa have developed a new tool to determine whether a cancer patient is predisposed to an advanced kind of treatment called immunotherapy.

The immune system contains “checkpoints” to prevent it from attacking cancer cells too strongly, as this would also potentially damage nearby healthy cells.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) suppress this action and allow the immune system to attack the cancer cells, but they are only effective in less than 40 percent of patients and tools currently being used to predict the drug’s efficacy are not completely accurate.

Now, according to Prof. Keren Yizhak and Ofir Shorer, how well a patient responds to ICI therapy can be predicted by the metabolic activity in their immune system cells, as they battle any cancer cells in their environment for nutrients and other resources.

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