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Clinical validation of prognostic biomarkers of chemotherapy response in liquid biopsies

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SENSITIVITYMARKERS (Clinical validation of prognostic biomarkers of chemotherapy response in liquid biopsies)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-06-30

NTRC is a precision medicine company dedicated to the development of new anti-cancer drugs that target activated or mutated cancer genes. NTRC’s activities are focused around internal programmes and services to companies active in oncology. With support of the SME Instrument program, NTRC will extend its precision medicine platform by applying profiling of compounds on patient derived liquid biopsies and patient derived organoids, combined with the use of clinical data. The platform will allow NTRC to enter new markets, i.e. providing services not only to companies but also to university medical centres and hospitals.
In the phase I feasibility study three drug sensitivity biomarkers that were previously identified by cancer cell line profiling were validated with patient material and clinical data. Proliferation assays were developed with blood samples from leukemia patients and used to determine whether two drug combinations, that previously had been shown to be synergistic in experiments with cancer cell lines, could be confirmed in patient samples. One of the two combinations was confirmed. In a separate line of research, a new drug sensitivity biomarker was identified for an internal drug discovery project of NTRC, resulting in a patent application that has been filed in April 2015. Finally, potential collaborators for an extension of the project in a phase 2 SME Instrument project were identified and the business plan was updated based on input from our stakeholders (i.e. academic research partners, medical doctors, pharmaceutical industry partners), a patent attorney, and other contacts in the network.
The new synergistic drug combination identified by compound profiling with patient blood samples will be proposed in a scientific peer-reviewed journal as a novel drug combination to add on existing therapy of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The result of this feasibility study has an immediate positive impact on the value of NTRC’s biomarker discovery platform, as it demonstrates that genomic biomarkers identified by cancer cell line profiling can be confirmed with patient samples. The identification of the genomic drug sensitivity biomarker for NTRC’s internal drug discovery project has significantly increased the value this project. In the phase project NTRC’s drug discovery strategy was revised in order to make optimal use of the precision medicine platform.
Recently, a business coach of the Executive Agency of Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME) has been assigned to the project and will assist NTRC in application of the phase 2 program.
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