30 May, 2018

Joining forces to drive breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer

By Freddie Campbell

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Cancer continues to be one of the main areas of focus in drug development. Unmet patient needs and advances in the understanding of cancer biology is resulting in exciting development in cancer treatments. We recently partnered with the National Foundation for Cancer Research at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting where we explored groundbreaking advancements in cancer research and helped attendees recognize the power of their donations to build a healthier and safer world.

Nearly 18,000 people attended the meeting from Pharma, biotech, contract research, academic and government sectors. Scientists came together to share their experience from bench research to the clinical phases of therapeutic development. The atmosphere generated as researchers shared their learning was heartening and holds great hope for cancer suffers both now and in the future.

New and exciting science

The AACR annual meeting program highlighted many subjects — new drug approvals, intricate science findings and the use of genomic data for precision oncology to name just a few. Discussions focused on how scientists are combining learning in disciplines such as physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, and artificial intelligence to diagnose cancer at an earlier stage to understand and track its progression. All of these collective elements provided the theme for the meeting: “Driving Innovative Cancer Science to Patient Care”.

One of the focus sessions that stood out for the team was innovations in T-cell therapies. The session focused on advances in CAR T-cell therapies to treat many different types of cancers. The presentation explained that CAR T-cells are engineered from a patient’s own T-cells in the laboratory to express chimeric antigen receptors on their surface. The expanded T-cells are then reintroduced into the patient's body where these receptors allow the T-cells to attach to a specific antigen on the patient’s tumor cells to destroy the cancer cells. Although still in the early stages of development, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved CAR T-cell therapy for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and adults with advanced lymphomas. These are exciting times for the field of immune-oncology and it was great to see examples of growth in this area.

Joining forces to fight cancer

We were proud to partner with the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) at AACR. NFCR are a fantastic organization providing scientists in the lab with the funding they need to make pioneering discoveries in cancer treatments. Booth visitors had the chance to take part in our game of chance, ‘The power of your donation’. Participants put forward their tokens, which were associated with a value depending on where they fell on a board. The total value was accumulated and donated to NCFR.

Gamers chancing their luck at 'the power of your donation' at AACR 2018

It was great to see so many people take part and appreciate the importance of raising money for scientific research, which is clearly making a difference to patients’ lives. Here are some stats from NFCR on where the money raised goes.  

  • $25-$100 stains one tissue slide from a tumor biopsy to look for a predictive biomarker of cancer metastasis
  • $100 performs one biopsy to get tumor tissue from a patient for a variety of pathological tests and biological analyses
  • $250 buys one case of petri dishes for growing cancer cells – an essential first step to identify tumor markers or test treatment effectiveness of new drugs
  • $500-$750 buys one antibody test to determine whether tumor cells have a specific marker for drug resistance
  • $1,000 carries out a comprehensive genome-wide analysis on all genes in one tumor sample, for developing targeted and personalized cancer therapies

Although the meeting has now passed, it’s never too late to make a contribution. Donate to NFCR directly today.

A forum for learning

The poster presentations highlighted countless scientist's dedication to applying novel scientific methodologies to the research they are involved in. Envigo’s Jamie Naden was no exception and was keen to present her findings at the meeting. Jamie works within the Veterinary Science Research and Support department at our Indianapolis site. Jamie said, "We are at the forefront of supporting oncology research with our new R2G2® model and AACR was a fantastic forum to share our research findings".

Jamie Naden presenting her poster on patient-derived and cell line xenograft growth in the R2G2® mouse model

"We launched the R2G2® at AACR last year so it was great to be back and present our first set of compiled data to date for the model. It's a very exciting time", explains Jamie.

Attendees were able to learn more about patient-derived and cell line xenograft growth in the R2G2® mouse model. The data explored the growth of human esophageal adenocarcinoma, gastric adenocarcinoma and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in R2G2® mice. Jamie also provided insights on how the R2G2® mouse model could be a good alternative to SCID and Athymic Nude mice.

If you didn’t catch Jamie’s poster session, there’s no need to miss out. Take a look at the patient-derived cell line xenograft growth data for yourself.

If you weren’t able to visit us at the meeting and would like some support with your oncology projects, speak to one of our experts.

Category // Pharmaceutical development, Research models and services, Oncology, therapeutic product R&D, cancer research