TumorGen and PhenoVista Capture the Seeds that Drive Cancer Metastasis
TumorGen’s microfluidic platform traps metastatic cancer cell clusters from lung cancer patients, creating new opportunities for anti-metastatic drug development.
SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE) -- TumorGen Inc., and PhenoVista Biosciences LLC have successfully isolated and characterized metastatic cancer cell clusters (MCCCs) from the blood of lung cancer patients’, validating TumorGen’s novel MCCC capture technology. This achievement is a critical milestone in developing anti-metastatic drugs, called “cluster busters,” which will target these cells and prevent cancer metastasis.
“Anti-metastatic therapies that can stop tumors from forming in other organs is a tremendous unmet medical need,” said TumorGen Founder / President, Jeffrey K. Allen, Ph.D. “Our platform can identify where MCCCs are vulnerable so researchers can develop drugs targeting these deadly clusters. TumorGen will partner with oncology drug development companies to bring these new therapies to the clinic.”
Metastasis causes around 90% of cancer deaths. While scientists have long known that MCCCs drive metastasis, no one has efficiently collected them from patient blood. This study, supported by the National Cancer Institute shows that MCCCs can be readily captured, allowing for genomic and other analyses to identify their vulnerabilities and enable new therapies.
“Utilizing our high-content imaging expertise in conjunction with TumorGen’s platform, we consistently detected a number of metastatic clusters from several lung cancer patients,” said James Evans, Ph.D., CEO of PhenoVista Biosciences. “These MCCCs from cancer patients contain both cancer and non-cancer cells. We are excited to enable cancer researchers to work with these rare and, up to now, inaccessible patient samples.”
On a research and discovery level, the ability to characterize MCCCs from circulating blood will help illuminate how human cells form distant metastases. The technology showed tremendous sensitivity and specificity, surpassing previous efforts to collect and characterize MCCCs. These developments offer new hope for newly diagnosed cancer patients.
“Working with and treating cancer patients every day, I always encounter the need for new drugs that can benefit my patients,” said Sandip Patel, M.D., Associate Professor and Co-Leader of Experimental Therapeutics at UCSD Moores Cancer Center. “Soon, I hope to see treatment plans that focus on both the primary tumor and the prevention of distant metastases. We need this comprehensive approach to significantly improve patient outcomes.”
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Source: TumorGen Inc.
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