Decreasing the Risk of Immunotoxicity for Cancer Immunotherapies


18th May 2021


Replay Available Now

Can artificial intelligence (AI) help to minimize the risk of your clinical trial failure due to off-target immunotoxicity?

Cancer immunotherapies bear great promise as effective treatments for diverse cancer types. Despite their potential, immunotherapies have a major limitation related to off-target toxicity. This event is caused by nonspecific T-cell engaging cross-reactive antigens presented on healthy tissues, thus inducing immunological response. Such a response can have serious health consequences for the affected patients. Usually, off-target toxicity is identified experimentally making this process time-consuming and limited to a restricted subspace of potential cross-reactive antigens. To augment the experimental screening processes and select safer epitope targets we can leverage recent advances in computational immunology and AI to screen for off-target toxicity in silico.
During this event we will present Ardigen’s approach to the identification of putative cross-reactive antigens which has been verified using clinical data where off-target toxicity occurred, including MAGE-A3 case, in which TCR also targeted a titin epitope leading to a cardiac failure and patient’s death in the clinical trial.

Discussion points will include:

  • Short introduction to cellular cancer immunotherapies
  • Recap of off-target toxicity mechanisms and their consequences
  • Using computational immunology and AI to identify cross-reactive antigens
  • Three examples of TCRs that were toxic and now could be caught early on
  • Limitations of experimental peptide-based approaches for identification of cross-reactive antigens


Date: First broadcast 18 May
Duration: 50 minutes
Event structure: 5-min introduction + 30-min presentation + 15-min Q&A
Registration fee: Free
Webinar on-demand: Available Now


Immunotoxicity for Cancer Immunotherapies

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Piotr Stępniak (Moderator)
Director of Strategy & Alliance – Ardigen

Piotr Stępniak joined Ardigen, a leading bioinformatics and AI company, to pursue the advancement of precision medicine in oncology with the application of artificial intelligence. His role is to shape immuno-oncology products and partnerships for personalized cancer vaccines and adoptive cell therapies. His expertise spreading across Life Sciences, Data Science and IT was instrumental in creating successful commercial relationships with over a dozen partners ranging from academia, through emerging biotech companies, up to big pharma located in San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Boston Area and European Union. Piotr led the Ardigen’s Immunology Business Unit into scientific collaboration with The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy by joining TESLA Consortium in 2019, and in 2020 forged alliance with COVID-19 Vaccine Corporation that used Ardigen’s AI-driven blueprints for its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development. Also in 2020, the Ardigen team received funding to accelerate the AI technology for TCR-therapy discovery and development.


Piotr Skoczylas
Data Scientist – Ardigen

Piotr Skoczylas joined Ardigen as a Data Scientist after graduating from the Jagiellonian University. He finished Applied Mathematics with distinction as one of the top students and received the Rector’s scholarship twice. Desiring to have an actual impact on human health and quality of life he grows into representative of a young generation of scientists weary of the insufficient progress that has been made towards an effective cancer treatment. Thanks to his multidisciplinary interests and strong theoretical foundations, he has become a core R&D team member and one of the main contributors to the development of a deep learning framework for modeling the antigen processing & presentation pathways. He is responsible for providing valuable insights from diverse biological data collections, using mathematical knowledge to perform data processing and analysis, as well as applying machine learning techniques to solving various problems around immuno-oncology.


Giovanni Mazzocco
Senior Scientist – Ardigen

Giovanni Mazzocco has 10+ years of experience in academic and commercial bioinformatics projects, which includes working with scientific institutes (e.g. Università di Padova, Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling (UW), Centre of New Technologies (UW), Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Institute of Computer Science at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine) medical research institutions (e.g. Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology in Warsaw), and biotech companies. He conducted research in computational biology including enzyme discovery, molecular modeling, dynamics and interaction assessment of proteins, chromatin modeling, design of statistical learning methods for the prediction of protein interactions of pivotal immunological significance, and design of vaccine constructs to be tested in industrial settings. Giovanni joined Ardigen to pursue the advancement of precision medicine in oncology with the application of AI. His role is to propose and explore scientific directions in the R&D team.

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