Welcome to CrownBio’s Blog where we share our thoughts
on the latest trends and hot stories in Oncology and CVMD


Highlights from the NASH symposium and panel discussion in Boston, MA (Sep 20-21, 2016) Amar Thyagarajan, PhD

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October is breast cancer awareness month and CrownBio has reviewed the latest breast cancer research to bring you the highlights of recent preclinical advances

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Non-Alcoholic Fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a complex condition where an excessive amount of fat accumulates in the liver, independently from alcohol consumption. It is currently unclear how and why NAFLD develops, although obesity is a clear risk factor. Improved preclinical models are currently needed so that we can gain a better understanding about the pathophysiology of the disease, and develop more effective treatments. CrownBio has recently presented data on our newly developed NAFLD model, which complements our existing resources and technologies for studying the disease.

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Humans, like all mammals, have two types of fat with completely opposite functions: white, which stores energy and when present in excess is linked with diabetes and obesity; and brown, which produces heat by burning energy and is associated with leanness. Recently, a third type of fat was discovered within white fat, called beige fat. Beige fat cells can quickly convert from an energy storing state to an energy burning state in response to environmental changes. UC San Francisco researchers studying beige fat have described a new strategy to preserve this beneficial tissue.

Human babies are born with brown fat, which they use as a natural defence against the cold. For a long time this...

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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, raising awareness and providing time for discussion on this deadly group of diseases. A newly published set of data, which we expect to be a key talking point among specialists this month, is hoping to help accurately predict how recurrent childhood leukemia is likely to respond to further treatment.

Despite significant progress, cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease among children under the age of 14. It is estimated that every year more than 170,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide, with the majority of them not having access to the modern treatment they need.

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Attrition rates in oncology drug development are higher than in other disease areas, with almost 95% of compounds showing preclinical activity failing to reach clinical development. This indicates a disconnect between current preclinical models and tumors in patients. CrownBio, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, has recently developed a system for growing patient-derived tumor cells in 3D. These 3D assays can be used to test anticancer agents ex vivo, and they have shown a higher predictive power compared to current 2D in vitro models.

Cells that make up tissues follow complex and dynamic 3D arrangements, which are important for their physiology. The 3D architecture of a...

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Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer, characterized by an excessive production of immature white blood cells (lymphoblasts) by the bone marrow. Although most children survive ALL, many suffer late or long-term side effects from treatment, including heart problems, growth and development delays, secondary cancers, and infertility. Now researchers at UC Davis and Ionis Pharmaceuticals have developed a new treatment that has the potential to reduce toxicity and secondary effects – an antibody/DNA molecule hybrid that specifically targets ALL cells.

ALL is an acute form of blood cancer, characterized by the overproduction of immature lymphoblasts...

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Cancer cells have the ability to evade the immune system by exploiting a self-regulatory mechanism that immune cells use to avoid attacking healthy cells. Luckily we now understand how to therapeutically reverse this immune escape, and researchers have developed innovative antibodies that target the inhibitors present on the tumor surface (e.g. anti-PD-1/PD-L1 or anti-CTLA-4). A new study in preclinical models has recently demonstrated that the conventional chemotherapeutic cyclophosphamide can be efficacious as an anticancer agent if used in combination with immunostimulatory Toll-like receptor agonists.

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Obesity was classified as a disease by the American Medical Association in 2013, and has become a serious epidemic issue in many developed and developing countries. Global obesity levels have more than doubled since 1980, with more than 600 million adults classified as obese in 2014. It is commonly believed that carrying excessive body fat would help in isolating the body from low external temperatures. Understanding how body fat works to keep animals warm is particularly important for obesity researchers. A recent paper published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism is now challenging the common belief, showing that in preclinical models fur, rather than...

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Human cancer cell lines are a powerful model system that can be propagated virtually indefinitely in culture, and manipulated to assess sensitivity to anticancer drugs or to investigate the molecular factors behind response to therapy. Oncology research using cancer cell lines has provided meaningful insights into many aspects of cancer susceptibility to treatment and into the role of specific genes in this process. More recently key genomic alterations and gene expression analysis of cultured cancer cells has helped pathologists to perform more accurate diagnoses. CrownBio has established a large collection of human tumor cell lines corresponding to a wide variety of tumor types, and...

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As scientists are learning about the heterogeneity between patients that supposedly have the same tumor, they are growing increasingly interested in understanding whether a given compound can be broadly efficacious or only applicable to a subset of patients with the same disease. Patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) are the model of choice to address these questions as they conserve the original features of a patient’s tumor. CrownBio is now launching HuScreen™ a new platform that allows the use of PDXs in large-scale screenings to evaluate the efficacy of multiple treatments at the same time.

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At the beginning of the last century lung cancer was a rare disease. However, as early as the end of the 1900s, it had already become the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. In 2016, the disease is expected to cause approximately 158,000 deaths in the United States alone, more than colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Therefore, finding a better cure for this deadly disease is a pressing need.

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