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PRECOS Awarded HTA License and Expands PDX Drug Discovery Models

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Preclinical Oncology Services Limited (PRECOS) has announced that it has been awarded a license to store and research human tissue samples by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA).

PRECOS has already established itself as a leader in the area of preclinical patient-derived tumour xenograft (PDX) modelling and the new license demonstrates its commitment to continuing to invest in and expand its cancer model portfolio.

The HTA licenses more than 800 organizations that store and use human tissue for purposes including research, patient treatment, post-mortem examination, teaching and public exhibitions.

Its continuous licensing system is supported by a new sector-specific compliance monitoring framework involving the collection of regular compliance updates from licensed establishments.

The HTA enables the necessary regulatory frameworks to ensure that human tissue is used safely, ethically and with proper consent by those organizations awarded licenses.

PRECOS already has a large and growing collection of PDX models and these are now widely believed to be more authentic, offering closer representation to the clinical setting.

With increasing focus on subset specific panels of PDX for targeted therapies, genetic profiling and histological heterogeneity are paramount in recapitulating the clinical situation.

Retention of the human stroma component in these models provides a more relevant heterogeneous system in which human tumour and stromal cells are in close co-operation within a unique microenvironment, thereby providing the right context to accurately and robustly evaluate the efficacy of a new therapeutic agent.

PRECOS will now be able to quickly and easily access patient tissue directly, allowing for greater access to samples for oncology model development by acquiring tissues for specific projects and cutting edge research.

It also allows PRECOS and its customers greater scope for research opportunities across many cancer types. PRECOS prides itself on utilizing methodology to retain the stromal elements of patient tissue which is important for sustaining heterogeneity and proper ligand-receptor interactions in cancer models which can then be used in a proprietary 3D tumour growth assay (TGA).

While the company has a primary focus in lung cancer PDX subsets, the acquisition of the HTA license will enable PRECOS to now invest in other cancer types, including breast and hematopoietic, to create panels of subtype specific PDX models with clinical information and original patient material for target identification, validation, through to lead optimization.

The HTA license will also allow PRECOS to collect patient material in addition to tumour tissue, such as blood samples, normal tissue and other bodily fluids which can be used for biomarker assessment and more specific requirements such as assessment of circulating tumour cells.

Direct access allows supply of samples to be tightly controlled and delivered with a specific protocol and timeframe and under the appropriate ethical review and constent.

This means clients of PRECOS will now have a broader access to early-stage patient samples for specific studies as and when they are needed, offering greater flexibility and confidence.

“PRECOS continues to develop a deeper portfolio of clinically relevant subset and histology specific pre-clinical PDX screening models to meet the drug discovery/biomarker challenges and demands of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries,” said Dr Martin Page, Scientific Consultant, PRECOS.

Dr Page continued, “These models offer new opportunities to maintain the right context of the tumour microenvironment, thus allowing greater insights into the underlying cancer biology and better means to evaluate intervention strategies.”

Chief Operating Officer Dr. Rajendra Kumari added: “Characterizations of histology, gene expression and mutational status allow a greater insight into the relevance of each model and the ability to directly link these with the defined clinical subsets. Thus, the panels are designed to help our clients address their key needs and challenges by providing cutting-edge clinically relevant models that are ready to run. Now we are able to procure, store and test a large number of samples sourced from Western societies, thereby enhancing the availability of Caucasian patient tissues and widening the geographical base and patient population of samples for our clients in UK, Europe and USA.”