Leiden University Medical Centre and Biotech Support Group Enter Joint Research Agreement for Stromal Conditioning Biomarkers in Cancer
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Aim and key objectives of the Research Collaboration
Tumors are more than just a mass of proliferating cells and therefore cancer progression is influenced by the multiple normal non-cancerous cell types and networks of proteins dynamically interacting in active tumorigenesis. These are not simply passive bystanders and consequently reflect the tumor-associated microenvironments called the stroma. Percolating through the tumor mass and introduced into the general circulation, stromal conditioning of tumors can thus be monitored by blood tests. Accounting for and characterizing the stromal influence on disease progression and response to therapies will become of paramount importance in the management of cancer patients in the future.
Based on stained surgically removed primary tissue sections, LUMC has developed a tumor-stroma ratio (TSR) reported to be a strong, independent prognostic parameter linking tumors with high stromal content to poor prognosis. LUMC will make available histological sections from primary tissue material (removed during operation) from patients with colorectal, breast and pancreatic cancer. Moreover from these patients (longitudinally collected) serum is available, collected under standardized conditions, for analysis of biomarkers. Clinical data of these patients and follow up information is available.
The patent pending panel of BSG’s Stroma Liquid Biopsy™ proteomic biomarkers, in part reflects the tumor-associated microenvironments introduced into the bloodstream, and to which can be monitored by blood tests. In this project, we aim to characterize and quantify the Stroma Liquid Biopsy™ biomarkers from LUMC collected patient sera, so as to correlate to the LUMC developed Tumor-Stroma Ratio scoring methods. Once achieved, we will have gained invaluable information central to understanding how individuals uniquely adapt to the presence of cancer anywhere in the body, how individuals can be stratified towards the best therapeutic options, and how individuals uniquely respond to medical intervention.
“This is a very exciting collaboration for us as LUMC has been at the forefront in research on the microenvironment componentry of cancer. While much knowledge surrounds the genomic mutations of the cancerous cells, even with the introduction of immuno-therapies, we still know very little about the hospitality derived from an individual’s systemic response to uncontrolled cellular proliferation. It is critically important therefore to gain a much deeper understanding of this complex interplay determined by the patient’s individualized cellular and protein dynamics within tumors. In this collaboration we hope to leverage our joint technologies and capabilities to observe functional reporting features of chronic systemic imbalances of proteolytic regulation; such reporting will become central to understanding how individuals uniquely respond to the presence of cancer anywhere in the body. With a much better understanding of the systemic response to cancer, new avenues for diagnosis, personalized medicine, and therapeutic modalities will be possible, ultimately achieving improvement in survival.” states Swapan Roy, Ph.D., President and Founder of Biotech Support Group.
Dr. Wilma Mesker (Associate Professor) and Prof. Rob Tollenaar (Surgeon) of the Leiden University Medical Center concur, and state further that, “the tumor-stroma microenvironment is an important prognostic parameter for patients with epithelial cancer types. Patients with a high amount of stromal cells in the primary tumor have a bad prognosis and respond worse to current chemotherapy regimens. Blood derived information about various tumor environmental factors could reduce under and over-treatment of cancer patients with chemotherapy, and offers unique possibilities and insight for monitoring during treatment and personalized therapy”.