Speaker Profile

Ph.D., Senior VP of Translational Research, Personal Genome Diagnostics

Nicholas (Nic) Dracopoli, Ph.D. recently joined Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx) as Senior Vice President of Translation Science after eighteen years working in oncology drug development at Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS) and Janssen Research & Development. In these roles, he was responsible for building two new translational science teams whose work contributed to the approval of six new oncology drugs for BMS and Janssen. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, he spent five years in the biotechnology industry at Sequana Therapeutics. Nic obtained his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University of London and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Subsequently, he served as an Assistant Director at the Whitehead/MIT Genome Center and as a Section Chief at the National Center for Human Genome Research at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Nic has authored more than 70 scientific publications and has extensive experience in the fields of genomics, molecular biology and cancer research.


Predicting Response and Acquired Resistance to Immunotherapy
The diverse response to immunotherapy is driven by the presence or absence of a prior, suppressed immune response to the tumor. This presentation will discuss the optimal approaches to evaluating the immune response including measuring tumor mutation burden, checkpoint ligand expression, T-cell infiltration and clonality, and circulating inflammatory markers.

Session Abstract – PMWC 2019 Silicon Valley

Session Synopsis: Immunotherapy is proving to be an effective therapeutic approach in a variety of advanced and metastatic cancers. However, despite the clinical success of the first wave of checkpoint inhibitors, only a subset of unselected patients exhibits durable responses. Furthermore, the field is witnessing notable failures in Phase III trials when these drugs are tested in unselected or sub-optimally selected patient populations. Finally, preliminary data indicate that the combinations of these agents, although promising in certain settings, are associated with increased toxicity and cost. Therefore, the development and implementation of novel clinical-grade biomarkers able to guide the selection of agents with complementary mechanisms of action targeting multiple mechanisms of resistance and immune escape are required.

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