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Woodland Pharmaceuticals Awarded STTR Grant from NCI to Create Liver (HCC) Tumor Bank in Collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

By: PRLog
Woodland Biosciences is a preclinical contract research organization specializing in in vivo oncology and metabolic diseases. This project is an extension of our work to create patient-relevant tumor models for more clinically translational results in drug discovery. In addition, the modeling will include coincident liver pathologies including steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis often seen in HCC patients. This is designed to be a unique patient-inclusive tumor bank focused on North America.
BOSTON - April 27, 2017 - PRLog -- Woodland Biosciences, a preclinical contract research lab (CRO) in greater Boston, announces today the award of an STTR grant from NIH/NCI together with co-applicant Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The award, titled "Development, Characterization & Commercialization of a Viably Frozen, Patient-Inclusive Hepatocellular Carcinoma Tumor Bank," will encompass activities to capture, expand, characterize and bank primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumors from American patients. The tumors will be available for patient-derived xenograft (PDX) studies at Woodland Biosciences mid-2017.

"Tumor banking is well established for many tumor types, such as colon and lung, but well populated and well characterized, population-representative liver tumor banks do not exist in the U.S.," said Michael Briggs, PhD, President & CSO of Woodland Biosciences. "Liver cancer is one of a few cancers for which incidence is increasing and is one of the more lethal cancers with low survival rates after diagnosis (11-16% 5-year survival). HCC tumor banks exist in China, but they are opportunistically obtained with low tumor take-rate which leads to only capturing the fastest growing tumors and not the full spectrum of patients, and are generally less-well characterized or annotated with patient histories. Moreover, liver cancer has different drivers in China, compared to the American disease, with HCV and obesity/diabetes playing larger roles in North America," added Dr. Briggs.

Dan Duda, PhD, DMD – an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Investigator at the MGH Research Institute, and the co-PI on the STTR project – has developed a protocol that sharply improves the ability of human HCC tumors to grow in mice, leading to a higher capture rate and a more representative and diverse tumor bank of HCC in the American population. "Our goal is to bank more than 30 tumors representing the diversity of the disease and of the patient population," said Dr. Duda, whose roles will involve both primary tumor capture and molecular characterization.

"Our phase I milestones are to demonstrate stable expansion of tumors and to test their sensitivity to existing HCC drug therapies in vitro and in vivo. MGH will perform oncogene screens in phase I with deeper molecular characterization planned for phase II," said Dr. Briggs. "In Q3 2017 we will welcome biopharma companies seeking to partner on early PDX studies in American-enriched HCC."

About Woodland Biosciences

Woodland is a contract research organization (CRO) offering in vivo services for the study of metabolic diseases and oncology. Woodland has >330 cancer cell lines for flank xenografts plus several syngeneic models for immuno-oncology studies, with a special focus on cancers of the liver, pancreas, brain and colon. Woodland has laboratories on the campus of Tufts Veterinary School in Grafton, Massachusetts (Boston metrowest). Woodland Biosciences is a DBA of Woodland Pharmaceuticals, LLC.


HHS SBIR and STTR programs are an integral source of capital for early stage U.S. small businesses that are creating innovative technologies to improve health. The announced award was issued by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number R41CA213678.

Woodland Pharmaceuticals, LLC
Michael R. Briggs

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