Periodic Reporting for period 1 - 3DPD (PhD position in commercial environment: cancer immunotherapy drug screening in 3D)
Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31
OcellO is a Dutch CRO that offers unique in vitro screening tools for cancer drug development industry. They are based on a 3D cell culture platform that reconstitutes a tissue-like organization of cells retaining the histological characteristics of the original human tumor tissues. In combination with the ability to perform high-content image analysis of these 3D cultures, OcellO has demonstrated to be supreme in forwarding drug compounds to the clinical development phase. Driven by the market needs, OcellO has focused on expanding its portfolio by incorporating assays that include immune cells of different kinds and can support the development of immuno-modulating cancer drugs.
The main objective of this project funded by EU Horizon2020 innovation associate grant was to increase an immunology expertise level at OcellO by hiring and immunology expert and by doing so - improving the immuno-oncology platform and providing innovative tools for testing cancer immunotherapies. These objectives were fully met and resulted in addition to OcellO’s portfolio assays that are able to visualize and analyze the tumor-immune cell interactions and quantify this via functional read-outs such as; tumor killing and immune cell infiltration into the tumors. This innovative, multicellular immuno-oncology platform has potential to test cancer immunotherapies and analyze their mechanism of action in a relevant tumor microenvironment which can help clinical translation of new cancer immunotherapies and better selection of treatments for cancer patients.
In line with that, we also further validated our analysis platform and could confirm that specific engineered immune cells infiltrated and killed colorectal cancer organoids in the presence of their specific activator, while the control immune cells did not respond to this activation (Figure 2). Together these results have enriched our existing platform, allowing testing of possible new candidates for cancer immune therapies. We presented present the obtained results at conferences in the form of scientific posters and handout flyers to potential customers and we posted about them on LinkedIn. With that we hope to further draw the attention of the market and potential customers to our innovative screening platform.