November was the smoked-free month, and we hope that it was successful for you!*

Indeed, smoking is the first cause of lung cancer, which is the 3th most common cancer and the first leading cause of cancer-related mortality in France, according to The French National Cancer Institute. Worldwide, it is the most common cause of cancer death, responsible for an estimated one in five cancer deaths. Therefore, it is essential to develop relevant pre-clinical models to develop effective drugs. 

In HCS Pharma, we support lung cancer research, by developing innovative in vitro models to screen new anti-cancer drugs. 

Though a collaborative work with the Oncology Research Institut of Lille (ONCOLille), we are developing a human in vitro model of lung cancer using BIOMIMESYS® matrix to assess the efficacy of targeted therapies. More precisely, the aim of this project is to obtain a complex 3D assay including the tumor cells, the fibroblastic stromal cells and the altered extra-cellular matrix (ECM) to evaluate the efficacy of multiple therapies targeted several oncogenic alterations in lung cancer, and to better characterize mechanisms of resistance to these therapies. The overall goal is thus to identify the best therapy for a patient thanks to this relevant in vitro model. In addition, this model will allow to reduce animal testing.

Mutated lung cancer cells cultured in BIOMIMESYS® Oncology for drug assessment (all nuclei are stain in blue, live cells in green and dead cells in red). Scale bar = 200µm)

Why our in vitro models are so innovative? Because we include the ECM using our technology BIOMIMESYS®. Indeed, the ECM is often poorly considered in in vitro models, whereas it participes to the cancer initiation, development, propagation and drug resistance! BIOMIMESYS® matrix composition can be modify to reproduce the tumor ECM, characterized by a high collagen I level, and a high stiffness, in order to be as close as possible to pathophysiological lung microenvironment. 

This project has been initiated in spring 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Zoulika Kherrouche (Institut Pasteur de Lille and ONCOLille) and Dr. Véronique De Conto (HCS Pharma). It is supported by supported by Région Hauts-de-France and the Plan France Relance supported by french National Research Agency (ANR) promotes the insertion of young researchers in Research and Development. In this way Marie Fernandes, PhD, has been recruited for the overall management of the project during 2 years since October 2022. 

*If you’ve tried and failed the smoked-free month, keep in mind that failure is the path to success and that it may take several attempts to succeed in quitting smoking ! 


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