Greetings from the AACR Annual Meeting!
This year, we heard Joe Biden’s report on the progress of the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative, compared immuno-oncology combination therapies, and mulled over the use of CRISPR screening to finding epigenetically controlled loci.
We also checked out the groundbreaking research being done by service providers on the Science Exchange network. Their work directly addresses the recommendations made last fall by the Moonshot’s Blue Ribbon Panel, and we are excited to give cancer researchers rapid access to these technologies through the Science Exchange platform!
Here are a few highlights from our exploration of #AACR17:
First humanized mouse model of tumor growth in bone: Pharmatest and Taconic Biosciences
The Moonshot Initiative’s recommendations specifically called out the potential of humanized mouse models to recapitulate the cellular architecture and heterogeneity found in human tumors. Traditional preclinical models that lack functional interactions between tumor, immune system and microenvironment have not been effective at predicting safety and efficacy of immunomodulating cancer drugs.
Pharmatest Services, Ltd. and Taconic Biosciences, both leaders in the development of predictive animal models, presented a poster at AACR 2017 showing the proliferation of human breast cancer cells in the bone injection site of humanized mice. The observed tumor growth, bone remodeling, and infiltration by human immune cells were similar to that seen in human breast cancer patients suffering from bone metastases.
Validation of this mouse model would be a very promising development for preclinical testing of immuno-oncology drug candidates and combination therapies.
Mass spectrometry imaging to characterize tumor microenvironment: Imabiotech
One challenge facing the Cancer Moonshot Initiative is that novel technologies are required to address tumor heterogeneity (at the cellular and molecular levels). Thus, the Blue Ribbon Panel called out multiplexed, quantitative imaging as a promising way to connect function with localization.
Imabiotech Corporation is a widely-published expert in the emerging field of mass spectrometry imaging, which is a promising technology to address tumor heterogeneity. Their poster and exhibit at AACR 2017 showcased how mass spectrometry imaging could be used to quantitatively characterize responses to immunotherapy in the tumor microenvironment, with spatial resolution.
Toward 3D patient-derived models of breast cancer, lung cancer, and glioblastoma: KIYATEC, Inc.
Another of the most challenging aspects of oncology is the fact that each patient has a different response to a particular therapy. Recognizing this, the Moonshot Initiative’s recommendations included a call to establish patient-derived test models, such as organoids and xenografts, in which candidate drugs could be tested before treatment.
KIYATEC, whose expertise lies in generating and using 3D cell-based models for drug response profiling, presented their work on breast cancer, lung cancer, and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), in three posters at AACR 2017.
One study addressed the challenges facing small cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients, for whom surgical resection is rarely feasible. Therefore, patient-derived tissue is difficult to obtain. KIYATEC was able to isolate functional cancer stem cells and circulating tumor cells, label-free, from SCLC patients, with the aim of developing 3D microtumors from these cells.
KIYATEC also showed that 3D models of breast cancer, which incorporated multiple stromal cell types and immune cells, responded differently to immune checkpoint inhibitors than standard 2D cell culture models. Finally, KIYATEC tackled GBM, for which therapy is particularly confounded by intra-tumor and inter-patient heterogeneity. They developed an efficient method to develop patient-derived 3D models, which may enable more personalized treatments for GBM.
Interested in working with these service providers? Order services on Science Exchange today, or contact us about your project.