Benjamin Vincent

Benjamin Vincent, MD is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology

UNC-Chapel Hill

Area of interest

The Vincent lab focuses on discovering determinants of response to immune checkpoint inhibition in cancer therapy, in order to develop clinically relevant biomarkers and guide development of novel therapeutics. Though great advances have been made in treating cancer though immunotherapy, not every patient benefits. Understanding how to improve cancer immunotherapy will be critical to personalizing treatment, properly sequencing and combining immunotherapy with other therapeutic modalities, and extending the lives of cancer patients going forward. My early career as a faculty investigator has centered on discovery of immunogenomics predictors of response to PD-1 inhibition in breast and bladder cancer, with the aim of developing biomarkers of clinical response and refining future immune checkpoint inhibition strategies. I have developed novel computational techniques for evaluating tumor immune microenvironment features from whole exome and mRNA sequencing data, as well as for T-cell receptor and B-cell receptor repertoire analysis. In order to understand the role of neoantigens in the anti-tumor immune response, I have also developed a robust neoantigen prediction pipeline that extends exome sequencing-based approaches by including MHC Class II (as well as Class I) neoantigens and using RNA expression data to inform the neoantigen predictions. These methods will be critical to Aim 1 of the proposed research. My lab has also been part of a group that developed a nanoparticle-based tumor antigen vaccine method that improves responses to PD-1 inhibition in a mouse model of melanoma. I am excited to apply this technique to mouse models of triple negative breast cancer, as a way to leverage bioinformatics predictions of neoantigens for therapeutic benefit. The proposed experiments in Aim 1 will complement my research direction by providing a means to gain understanding of determinants of clinical benefit to immunotherapy in triple negative breast cancer, which will allow us to develop biomarkers for testing in larger trials to more rationally guide immunotherapy choices going forward. Should our nanoparticle neoantigen vaccine approach in Aim 2 prove efficacious in pre-clinical models of triple negative breast cancer, we will pursue a clinical trial with the aim to improve survival in breast cancer patients.

Awards and Honors

2005 Holderness Research Fellowship, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
2008 Harold C. Pillsbury Basic Science Award, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
2008 John B. Graham Medical Student Research Society, University of North Carolina
2009 Competitive Selection to ABIM Research Track, UNC Department of Hematology/Oncology
2010 David A. Ontjes Outstanding Intern Award, UNC Hospitals Department of Internal Medicine
2010 Farmer Award for Compassion in Medicine, UNC Hospitals Department of Internal Medicine
2013 Outstanding Abstract Travel Award, American Society of Hematology
2015 Invited speaker, Illumina Users Group Meeting
2015 Outstanding Fellow Award, North Carolina Oncology Association
2015 Pope Clinical Fellow Award, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
2016 Invited speaker, Immuno-Oncology Young Investigators Forum

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