Pharmatest researchers highlight key role of tumor microenvironment in reducing trial attrition

Pharmatest researchers highlight key role of tumor microenvironment in reducing trial attrition

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Press Release | Pharmatest Services Ltd

MARCH 28, 2015

Turku, Finland: – Pharmatest Services scientists in collaboration with University of Turku have co-authored a scientific research paper that highlights the importance of accurately modeling the tumor microenvironment in improving the actual efficacy of cancer drugs and reducing their high attrition rate in clinical trials.

Dr. Maija Valta, of Turku University Hospital, is lead author of the article, “Importance of microenvironment in preclinical models of breast and prostate cancer”, published in this month’s World Journal of Pharmacology at the invitation of the editor.

Improving preclinical efficacy

The four other authors, Katja Fagerlund, Mari Suominen, Jussi Halleen and Johanna Tuomela all work in Pharmatest Services, a specialist in improving preclinical efficacy services for the pharmaceutical industry in the fields of oncology and skeletal diseases.

Jussi Halleen, who is also Pharmatest’s CEO, commented:
“We decided to accept the invitation of the Journal to write this paper because better understanding of the importance of the tissue microenvironment can play a powerful part in helping more drug candidates prove their efficacy in clinical trials, which is our core mission at Pharmatest.”

Inaccurate models

“The majority of cancer drugs entering clinical trials fail to reach the market due to poor efficacy and in many cases that are a direct result of preclinical efficacy predictions being based onsubcutaneous xenograft models that do not accurately reflect the real tumor microenvironment,” said Dr. Halleen.

“We wanted to highlight the importance for using correctly selected clinically predictive preclinical efficacy models to improve the situation,” he added.

The article describes the role and importance of the tumor microenvironment, especially in progression of breast and prostate cancer, and reviews some of the cancer cell lines that are widely used in preclinical studies.

Improving prediction

The authors also examine different preclinical efficacy models, such as 3-D cell culture models, orthotopic and metastasis models, humanized and transgenic mouse models, and patient-derived xenografts.

They also discuss different endpoint measurements and applicable imaging techniques used in assessing efficacy.

The authors conclude that models that incorporate a genuinely representative tumor microenvironment should be increasingly preferred in preclinical efficacy studies to give the candidate drug a significantly higher chance of surviving clinical trials.

The review article is an open access publication, with a full draft accessible online. 

About Pharmatest

Pharmatest Services Ltd (Pharmatest) is a contract research organisation (CRO) specializing in clinically predictive preclinical efficacy services in the therapeutic areas of oncology and skeletal diseases.

Pharmatest helps establish proof-of-efficacy of cancer drug candidates with cell culture assays, organotypic 3D models, orthotopic animal models, and disseminated cancer models. Its models of skeletal diseases include bone cell culture assays and animal models of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis that can also be used for bone safety testing.

Headquartered in Turku, Finland, Pharmatest’s preclinical research unit offers modern research facilities including fully equipped laboratories and barrier-type animal facilities.

The CRO has supported close to 100 clients from pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations worldwide in research to develop new therapeutics against cancer and skeletal diseases. It has also assisted many nutraceutical companies in the development of new phytopharmaceutical products.

Pharmatest has developed a proven ability to reduce costs and notably increase the speed of drug development by processing outsourced preclinical efficacy testing with maximum efficiency and providing clients with access to latest translational tools for lead validation and proof-of-concept studies in oncology and skeletal diseases.

Media Contacts

Jussi Halleen; CEO, Pharmatest Services Ltd.
Tel.: + 358 50 380 9551


Andrew Heiniluoma US Sales Representative, Pharmatest
Tel: +1 978 340 1028


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Supplier Information
Supplier: Pharmatest Services Ltd
Address: Itäinen Pitkäkatu 4 C, 5th floor, 20520 Turku, Finland
Tel: +358 2 278 4700
Fax: +358 2 278 4710

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