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XenTech adds key pediatric hepatoblastoma study to research partnerships

July 14th 2014

Evry, France:– Senior XenTech scientist Dr. Stefano Cairo, is playing a key role in important new research into liver cancer amongst children.

Dr. Cairo is working with Dr. Charles Keller. associate professor of pediatrics (hematology/oncology) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in a research partnership studying hepatoblastoma, a rare form of pediatric liver cancer.

The project recently benefited from a $75,000 grant from the Georgia-based Macy Easom Cancer Research Foundation, inspired by a five-year old victim of hepatoblastoma.

Since the award was made in September last year, the scentists say the project has made‘significant progress’.

Dr. Keller and Dr. Cairo’s teams have also been joined by Yecuris Corporation, an OHSU spinoff company founded by Markus Grompe, M.D., director of the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute and professor of pediatrics at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Humanized hepatoblastoma model

This international academic-industry partnership is creating a humanized hepatoblastoma mouse model – a mouse whose liver has normal human liver cells and childhood hepatoblastoma tumor cells. The goal of this mouse model is to test drugs that have had favorable results on hepatoblastoma cells previously drug tested – ultimately treating the childhood liver tumor.

“XenTech has provided hepatoblastoma tumor cells from its collection of 14 hepatoblastoma patient-derived xenografts and expertise in pediatric liver cancer to the research project,” said Dr. Cairo.

Dr. Cairo has published several high-impact, sentinel scientific papers leading to new insights into what causes and drives hepatoblastoma. He has worked at XenTech SAS at Evry, near Paris, since December 2009 and now leads the XenTech R&D team studying pediatric and adult liver tumor models, seeking to identify genetic markers, pathways and signatures that can be used to predict tumor response to conventional or innovative anti-cancer treatment.

Shared expertise

Yecuris Corporation and XenTech share expertise in generating human liver models in mice and Dr. Cairo believes this joint effort could lead to promising clinical research approaches.

“The best we can do to help children with cancer is to render preclinical research so reliable that immediate translation into clinical practice will be possible,” said Dr. Cairo.

“This joint effort will hopefully serve this purpose, he added.

The project is one of several key research partnerships between Paris-based XenTech and leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and academic institutions. Other collaborations are with clinical centers in France, including Institut Curie, Gustave Roussy, Institut Paoli-Calmettes and the academic research center L’Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort (EnVA) to develop xenograft models from patient’s tumor samples in compliance with ethical rules.

Beside offering fee-for service contracts, XenTech also enters co-development theranostic research projects through joint venture collaborations.

About XenTech

XenTech is a highly innovative French-based biotech laboratory and CRO specializing in the preclinical evaluation of cancer drug efficacy and the identification of biomarkers and therapeutic targets. It offers a unique collection of patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDX), which closely match biological features of patient tumors for each aspect of phenotypic characteristics including histology, gene expression, genomics and drug response.

XenTech is known worldwide for its renowned oncology translational platform including a unique panel of patient-derived breast cancer xenografts and its extremely experienced scientific team.

Since its foundation in April 2006, XenTech has assembled one of the world’s most impressive collections of PDX models that are extensively characterized by and associated with molecular data, including gene expression, copy number data, and manually curated mutations. Its preclinical platform is of considerable value to translational research in oncology, notably for pharmacology and identification of drug response markers for personalized medicine.

XenTech participates in the development of novel cancer therapies by offering its PDX-based services, tumor models and expertise in preclinical oncology to stakeholders in oncology research. XenTech also develops internal oncology biomarker programs to correlate drug response with molecular features of tumors.

About Yecuris™ Corporation

Yecuris™ Corporation, located in Portland, Ore., was founded in April 2007. The corporation was formed to commercialize transgenic mouse technology that was developed in the lab of Markus Grompe, M.D., at Oregon Health and Science University Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

More information at

About OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital has been named amongthe USA’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” and is one of only 22 Health-designated Child Health Research Centers in the country. OHSU Doernbecher ranks 39th for NIH awards to children’s hospitals and their university-affiliated department of pediatrics. Nationally recognized physicians and nurses at OHSU Doernbecher provide a full range of pediatric care to tens of thousands of children each year, the majority from Oregon and southwest Washington state.

Xentech Office

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Léa Carrignon, Business Development Manager, XenTech
Tel: +33 1 60 87 89 80


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