Clinical OMICS

JUL-AUG 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 20 of 51 July/August 2019 Clinical OMICs 19 July/August 2019 Clinical OMICs 19 Definiens researchers have developed algorithms and other tools to understand in rich detail what happens in a tumor. These advanced tools are needed because the understanding of the tumor microenvironment increases with the different kinds of data included in an analysis. In addition to tissue phenomics, the use of 'omics data and multi-plex markers is what is going to enable and improve patient stratification. "We really believe that combining all the 'omics data is the only way to understand the phenotype of the cancer and how that affects the outcome of the patient," Braenne says. From Satellite Images to Tumor Sections Definiens was founded 25 years ago by German scientist Gerd Binnig, Ph.D., who shared the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics for designing the scanning tunneling microscope. Binnig started the company to develop Cognition Network Technology (CNT), an intelligent pattern recognition approach to image analysis that can describe objects in their contextual relationship—a technology first developed to analyze satellite images. Early on, Definiens applied CNT software to object-based image analysis, including radiological images. In 2007, it introduced Tissue Map, a user-friendly tissue image analysis tool for oncology research. In 2009, the company introduced an ML platform for biomarker research called Tissue Studio. Definiens' researchers began to see the possibilities for improving IHC as the tools of AI via HPC and increased data storage became available. Five years ago, Definiens began focusing on immuno- oncology. "Due to the increasing complexity of the data, we felt it best that we serve our customers by bringing expertise in-house," Huss says. Definiens scientists also saw a need to ensure quality control of tissue samples and to standardize all data. In order to provide greater guidance to its customers, Definiens shifted its focus to consulting, offering Insight Services from its experts in computational science, bioinformatics, biostatistics, and pathology. Insights Services includes consultation, image analysis, data mining, and big data analytics. In 2017, the company introduced its Insights Portal, a web-based delivery platform for Insight Service projects. It allows customers to track the progress of the project and, when the project is completed, customers can view results, interrogate data, and share. Multi-plex IO-Panel Also in 2017, Definiens introduced its IO-Panel to overcome the current limitations of IHC assays. The IO-Panel offers partners and customers a standardized assay to profile the immune microenvironment of the tumor. It accelerates imaging studies across tissue samples by eliminating the variables associated with multiple testing kits. The panel allows the identification of the interactions between the immune system and the tumor on a single-cell resolution level in the context of the entire tumor microenvironment. Using its tissue phenomics-based approach, the Definiens IO-Panel currently measures expression of seven well- characterized multi-plex biomarkers to efficiently categorize immune status of tumor samples. High-level results provide a quick and conclusive understanding of the tumor immune status, supported by multiple layers of comprehensive analysis. The Definiens IO-Panel allows researchers to compare current and future clinical studies across drug development portfolios. According to Huss, the future of precision cancer therapy will only become more complex. Eventually, dozens of markers could be included in panels. Definiens offers its partners and customers customized solutions for these challenges. For Definiens, the next stage in its evolution will be the creation of tissue-based companion diagnostics. "The ultimate goal will be for each cancer patient to undergo these detailed analyses," Huss says. "This will not be trial-and-error with respect to cancer therapeutics, but instead, treatment selection based on standardized patient profiling." Sponsored by Slide Images: Courtesy Mosaic Laboratories, Lake Forest Image Analysis: Definiens Artificial intelligence is used to mine the spatial relationships among seven different biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment. Using two Triplex and one Monostain, the different cell populations are identified and spatially placed in four different regions around and inside the tumor. This allows for a detailed profile mirroring the complex TME interactions and subsequent classification in one of six immune profile categories.

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