National Cancer Institute Awards KIYATEC Nearly $2M to Advance Predictive Cancer Diagnostics

National Cancer Institute Awards KIYATEC Nearly $2M to Advance Predictive Cancer Diagnostics

shutterstock_189032618KIYATEC – a company developing 3D cell-based models for drug response profiling – has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Contract. The 1.975 million dollar grant was awarded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

KIYATEC is the leading company using unique 3D cell culture techniques to generate drug-response profiling that is later used in preclinical testing, clinical trials, and clinical cancer diagnostics. The key advantage of this system is the ability to predict patients’ drug response – without exposing them to the actual drug – and therefore, minimizing clinical trial failures and maximizing patient clinical outcomes.

For the next two years, the SBIR Grant will allow KIYATEC to tackle two key issues in current therapeutic strategies with their 3D breast cancer model: how patients’ cancer cells interact with the immune system (a strategy known as immuno-oncology) and how patients’ cancer cells interact in the formation of new blood vessels (a process known as angiogenesis).

Additionally, KIYATEC will expand their 3D platform from primary ovarian cancer and breast cancer testing to an aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Matt Gevaert, Ph.D., KIYATEC’s CEO noted in a company press release, “This contract is exciting because it recognizes the great potential of our technology, team and strategy to have a significant impact on drug development and clinical care. The immediate impact will be to use our 3D breast and GBM models to identify the most active therapies prior to being tested in patients, but our ultimate goal is to use our 3D micro-tumors as a diagnostic in a clinical trial setting or for real-time clinical decision-making by oncologists.”

Complex cancer interactions with a patient’s immune system, for example, is a key feature of cancer prognosis. This complexity has to be mimicked with live, interacting versions of a patients’ tumor and immune system (impossible to recreate with 2D systems) which is KIYATEC’s goal through the attributed SBIR Grant.

Larry Gluck, MD, medical director of Greenville Health System’s Cancer Institute, added in the press release, “Clever incorporation of this kind of complex biology, for example inflammation and the immune system, into our collective tool belt has the potential to completely transform how we treat cancer. Working in conjunction with the GHS Institute for Translational Oncology Research, KIYATEC is well positioned to help individualize therapy and markedly increase the effectiveness of the therapies we administer.”

The SBIR Grant promises to strengthen KIYATEC’s mission in providing drug response profiling information that will allow doctors to choose the best drug treatment for each patient based on a pre-knowledge of patients’ cell response to that same treatment.

KIYATEC’s team is led by Hal Crosswell, MD, KIYATEC’s chief medical officer and contract principal investigator, and Tessa DesRochers, Ph.D., a chief scientist at KIYATEC and the contract’s co-principal investigator.