Dr Olsson Brown is a Medical Oncology registrar at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. Throughout her clinical work she has been involved with the use of oncological immunotherapies, their uses and toxicities. Her PhD is based on understanding the immunological events that occur in the presence of immunotherapy that lead to toxicity.
Dr Olsson-Brown completed her Fellowship in November 2019. Dr Olsson Brown will submit her thesis in 2021.
An investigation into the immunological mechanisms of immune related adverse events associated with oncological checkpoint inhibitors
Oncological immunotherapies and specifically checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionised therapy for an increasing number of metastatic malignancies. However, with this efficacy comes significant toxicity of an immune mediated nature, namely immune related adverse events (irAEs). The constellation of immune related adverse events (irAEs) includes colitis, hepatitis, endocrinopathies, pneumonitis and nephritis. Immune related adverse drug reactions clinically mimic autoimmune diseases and can be severe, permanent and multi-organ effecting. National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) grade 3/4 immune related adverse drug reactions are apparently indication-independent and seen in 5-30% (monotherapy) to ~55% (combination therapy) of patients.
Within the context of Dr Olsson Brown's PhD she has established a series of studies which aim to investigate the mechanistic causes of these irAEs. The primary hypothesis is that there are identifiable immune parameters which are altered in the presence of CPI induced irAEs that can be mapped to determine the underlying immunopathological mechanisms involved in toxicity. A secondary hypothesis is that there are underpinning predisposing factors which influence who experiences toxicity and which organs are affected. DR Olsson Brown has undertaken work in both thyroiditis and colitis and have some preliminary results relating to immunological features of these irAEs for which the next phase is further analysis and an expansion cohort to investigate these preliminary findings further.
Working with industry
During her Fellowship Dr Olsson-Brown worked with Roche and says:
"Roche have supported the development of my project plan and execution thereof. During my fellowship I visited Roche (Switzerland) on a number of occasions and gained a good understanding of the various roles of Clinical Pharmacology within a pharmaceutical company. I also spent time with the Clinical Safety department and interacting with team members at various stages of trial design. We have also presented 3 international conference abstracts, published a peer reviewed manuscript and have another awaiting review. I have worked alongside industrial partners of Roche to develop innovative data analysis tools and data from my relevant publications have been utilised in the development of a model for immune related adverse events secondary to checkpoint inhibitors."
Dr Olsson Brown's Research
- Managing toxicity when treating cancer with next-generation drugs - on the University of Liverpool website
- ‘I Thought I Wouldn’t See Another Christmas - But Miraculous Treatment Has Cleared My Tumours’ - on the Huffington Post
- Top tips : cancer immunotherapy - on the Guidelines in Practice website
- Prestigious honour for Wirral doctor Anna Olsson-Brown - on the Wirral Globe website
- The benefits of QI are numerous and the challenges worth overcoming - on the BMJ website
- Dr Anna Olsson-Brown writes for the BMJ - on the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre website