The Boston-based biotech company will use an inventory of patient-derived cancer cells to develop new lab-grown tumor models to accelerate and refine oncology research, and provide more targeted treatments for cancer patients.[For immediate release: Ashland, MA and San Antonio, TX, April 17, 2023] – MatTek Life Sciences and NEXT Oncology jointly announced today a licensing agreement that will have MatTek turn NEXT Oncology’s patient tumor cells into laboratory-grown in vitro tumor models for cancer research. With locations in Texas, Virginia, and Spain, NEXT Oncology is a global network of Phase I cancer research clinics dedicated to providing patients access to the latest treatments for advanced cancers. MatTek Life Sciences, a Boston-based biotech company, is a leader in the production of lab-grown human tissues and organs used worldwide as human-relevant replacements for animal testing.
NEXT Oncology holds a unique inventory of primary cancer cells from donor patients diagnosed with aggressive, rare, and advanced cancers. Most patients had been treated with best-in-class oncological therapies that were ineffective in battling the disease.
“Using the panel of cancer types, we will develop a drug screening protocol that can determine effective drugs for specific cancer types and be applied for personalized medicine,” said Dr. Anthony Tolcher, CEO and founder of NEXT Oncology. “The tumor models reflect the unmet needs of patients with cancer, and therefore more closely represent the important models for new drug development. We welcome the opportunity to work with MatTek so that pharma and biotech companies can access relevant models to advance more meaningful treatment options for patients.”
The conventional method of creating in vitro tumor models by using cancer cell lines has been useful for cancer research, but these models lack the complexity and heterogeneity of tumors in the body. Tumor models created from primary cells excised from patient tumors can better replicate the tumor microenvironment, including its cellular and extracellular components. These tumor models can then be used to study the genetic and molecular characteristics of the tumor, test the effectiveness of various cancer treatments, and explore the underlying mechanisms of cancer.
MatTek’s state of the art labs, established and rigorous quality standards, and staff expertise in growing human tissues from primary donor cells make it a natural fit to produce and scale-up production of these new tumor models. The company’s R&D team will be working to create ten types of lab-grown tumor tissues immediately and expect the first models to be commercially available by July of this year. “We have already had great success expanding the cells, and initial production shows excellent cellular structure and responsiveness,” said Dr. Seyoum Ayehunie, MatTek’s chief scientific officer. “These tissues will provide cancer researchers and cancer drug developers with the best tools available to evaluate therapeutic responses.”
The technology is still in its early stages, but the potential benefits are significant. By replicating the tumor microenvironment more accurately, these models will help researchers better understand the biology of cancer and could potentially lead to the development of new treatments that are tailored to individual patients.
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Director of Marketing, MatTek Life Sciences
About MatTek Life Sciences
Founded in 1985, MatTek Life Sciences began producing three-dimensional human tissue models as reliable replacements for animal testing. MatTek’s physiologically advanced tissue models empower companies in the cosmetics, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries to achieve their goals of non-animal testing while lowering preclinical costs and providing human-relevant results. With locations in the US and Europe, today MatTek’s offerings include skin, eye, oral, respiratory, vaginal, and intestinal tissue models including disease modeling, validated, and custom testing services, multiple donor primary cells, culture media, and highly optical cultureware.
About NEXT Oncology
NEXT Oncology is dedicated to the development of new anticancer agents for patients whose current cancer therapy is no longer working to benefit them and are looking for their next option. NEXT is partnered with Texas Oncology, the largest private oncology practice in the United States with more than 400 referring oncologists and US Oncology, a network of independent, community-based oncologists in the U.S. This formidable size and reach provide NEXT unprecedented opportunities to transform what has come to be expected from clinical trials of new agents.