Lille, February 5, 2024
HCS Pharma, a pioneering biotechnology company that enables the recreation of human organ avatars in vitro, announces that its BIOMIMESYS® technology has played a key role in the scientific discoveries of the teams led by Professor Robert-Alain Toillon from the University of Lille (CANTHER/ONCOLille) and Professor Caroline Mysiorek from the University of Artois (LBHE, Lens). They, in partnership with HCS Pharma, have made a significant breakthrough regarding the development of brain metastases in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), by identifying the mechanisms responsible for these cerebral metastases.
An innovative approach via the groundbreaking BIOMIMESYS® technology
The groundbreaking BIOMIMESYS® technology, an extracellular matrix for 3D organotypic culture that reproduces the environments of various human organs, such as the brain and liver (in terms of composition and rigidity), has allowed scientists to validate in vitro the scientific findings observed on in vivo models (mice).
Indeed, the BIOMIMESYS® Brain and Liver models, combined with avant-garde approaches such as an in vitro model of the human blood-brain barrier (BBB), ex vivo co-culture of mouse brain slices, and in vivo xenograft experiments, enabled the team to faithfully recreate the key stages of brain metastases to study the behavior of triple-negative breast cancer.
The results, published in the scientific journal Experimental Hematology & Oncology on December 10, 2023, have thus highlighted the influence of the extracellular matrix in the development of breast cancer metastases. Indeed, this development was significantly more pronounced in the BIOMIMESYS® Brain matrix than in the BIOMIMESYS® Liver matrix, which was consistent with the results observed in vivo in mice.
Thus, thanks to HCS Pharma’s technology, scientists were able to obtain conclusive results in just 3 years. This study also identified two proteins (TrkA and EphA2) responsible for the development of brain metastases, thereby opening a new path for the development of targeted therapies.
These scientific results demonstrate that the BIOMIMESYS® technology represents a relevant alternative to animal experimentation, thereby accelerating scientific research and potentially, in the long run, dispensing with in vivo preclinical tests.
A next high-potential step in cancer research
To go further, the CANTHER laboratory (University of Lille, INSERM, CNRS, CHU de Lille) and HCS Pharma are initiating new research efforts to identify the molecule(s) capable of destroying the TrKA and EphA2 proteins whose combination accelerates the development of brain metastases.
To achieve this, the research teams will use HCS Pharma’s BIOMIMESYS® Brain technology adapted to high-throughput phenotypic screening, allowing them to simultaneously test several thousand molecules and thus obtain results faster than on in vivo preclinical models, where it is only possible to test one molecule at a time.
To advance this new stage, the research team is currently actively seeking funding and has initiated discussions with institutions and nonprofit organizations to gather the necessary funds to carry out these decisive new research efforts.
By reproducing the extracellular matrix (ECM) of healthy and pathological organs, BIOMIMESYS® opens up new avenues for fundamental research on long and complex diseases such as cancer. It allows, in fact, the study in vitro of interactions between cells and the ECM, and the study of the impacts of changes in the ECM on the development of chronic diseases. It also opens up new perspectives in research and development of new drugs by identifying therapeutic molecules targeting the microenvironment and particularly the cells that modify the extracellular matrix.
This new scientific advancement demonstrates the relevance of HCS Pharma’s expertise and BIOMIMESYS® technology in the development of preclinical models for drug research.
The press release (in French) can be found and downloaded here; special thanks to La Gazette du Laboratoire and Université de Lille to spread the word! Please feel free to contact us if you want to know how to use BIOMIMESYS® to study metastasis behaviour!
Experimental Hematology & Oncology volume 12, Article number: 104 (2023)
Cicero, J., Trouvilliez, S., Palma, M. et al. ProNGF promotes brain metastasis through TrkA/EphA2 induced Src activation in triple negative breast cancer cells. Exp Hematol Oncol 12, 104 (2023)