Cellaria Inc. partners with researchers at Northeastern University to advance new photomedicine therapies for key cancers

Successful award of NIH R01 funding paves the way for accelerated Precision Therapeutics.

11/17/2020 WAKEFIELD, MA: ​Cellaria Inc (Wakefield, MA, USA) and the Spring Lab, Northeastern University, announce the successful receipt of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant to extend and advance the application of innovative new photomedicine-based therapies for hard-to-treat cancers. The grant highlights the close working relationship of the two organizations and will provide $3.2M funding to develop precision therapeutics closely tailored to the requirements of specific patient populations. Cellaria’s contribution to the partnership is next generation, patient-derived, customized cell models that boost the effectiveness of ​in vitro studies, helping researchers to identify where the technology can have the most impact. Dr Bryan Spring, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Physics credits Cellaria with a vital role in accelerating his research.

“We’ve demonstrated proof of concept and seen significant interest from clinicians,” said Dr Spring. “However, we initially targeted just a single ovarian cancer biomarker. To capture the heterogeneity of the disease and efficiently study multiple biomarkers we needed to upgrade our cell models. Developing new models in-house would have taken years and instead we chose to work with Cellaria. This has really accelerated progress by providing rapid access to rigorously characterized cell models for specific molecular subtypes and patient populations.”

Dr Spring’s research focuses on the use of antibody-photosensitizer conjugates to make cancer cells susceptible to light-induced destruction, targeting microscopic cancer cell deposits left behind by conventional therapies. Primary areas of application are pancreatic and ovarian cancer. With these cancers, cells left behind by surgery and other conventional therapies can metastasize in the peritoneal cavity and abdomen, attacking other organs and increasing the severity of the disease. The new NIH research grant is entitled “Multiplexed and dynamically targeted photoimmunotherapy of heterogeneous, chemoresistant micrometastases guided by online in vivo optical imaging of cell-surface biomarkers”.

Cellaria provides cell models, complete with comprehensive omics data, that help the researchers to determine which biomarkers are most actionable when it comes to targeting drug resistant cells and applying the photomedicine. These cell models robustly represent the full heterogeneity of the cancers, which is essential for the development of precision therapies. Dr Spring has been using Powder, a high grade serous ovarian cancer cell model developed from the carcinoma of a 65 – 69 Caucasian, stage IV patient. New models for pancreatic cancer have recently been added to the Cellaria portfolio. All have a robustly authenticated lineage and are provided with protocols to maintain specific biomarker expression. Cellaria’s unrivalled expertise in cell line growth, stabilization and characterization underpin the company’s ability to supply customised models that enable researchers to identify the specific biomarkers of most relevance to their work.

“Cellaria have all the -omics in place and are highly responsive in terms of refining models to our requirements,” said Dr Spring. “The Cellaria team are experts in their field and great to work with. The bottom line is that via this collaboration we get to concentrate on our science, rather than the tools we need to support it, which is just as we prefer it.”

About Cellaria Inc.

Cellaria Inc’s mission is to develop and build more informative disease cell models to revolutionize and accelerate the search for a cure. The company provides a suite of products and services that are actionable, replicable and that originate from a patient’s unique specimens. ​With 7 years of research and development, Cellaria’s solutions better enable disease researchers to select promising compounds and ultimately identify the most effective treatment for each patient’s needs. This helps lead the research community to more personalized therapeutics, revolutionizing and accelerating the search for a cure and/or personalized treatments.