News: Anti-fibrotic LOX family inhibitor program to progress to Phase Ib trial

Thomas R. Cox, Oct 2019

Following a successful Phase Ia trial of their oral anti-fibrotic systemic LOX inhibitor, Pharmaxis are now moving into a Phase Ib multiple ascending dose (MAD) study in healthy volunteers.

This is an exciting time for the Matrix and Metastasis team as we have been collaborating closely with Pharmaxis recently in developing a pre-clinical portfolio to help build a case for potentially transitioning this compound through to a clinical trial in pancreatic cancer patients. Pharmaxis is already seeking to progress this compound in the myelofibrosis space, and so working with our team, we are exploring the potential for this exciting anti-fibrotic compound in other cancer settings.

Pharmaxis Systemic LOX inhibitor

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Publication: CAF Subpopulations: A New Reservoir of Stromal Targets in Pancreatic Cancer

Thomas R. Cox, Oct 2019

CAF Subpopulations: A New Reservoir of Stromal Targets in Pancreatic Cancer

Working together with A/Prof Paul Timpson’s lab, we are pleased to announce that our recent review on targetting CAFs in pancreatic cancer has just been published in Trends In Cancer.

In this work we explore how different aspects of CAF heterogeneity are defined and how these manifest in multiple cancers, with a focus on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Mechanisms of CAF Heterogeneity

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Publication: CAF hierarchy driven by pancreatic cancer cell p53-status creates a pro-metastatic and chemoresistant environment via perlecan

Thomas R. Cox, Aug 2019

CAF hierarchy driven by pancreatic cancer cell p53-status creates a pro-metastatic and chemoresistant environment via perlecan

We are super excited to announce that our recent work in close collaboration with A/Prof Paul Timpson has just been published in Nature Communications (view the full Open-Access article here)

In this work (which was a large international collaboration), co-led by our team and Paul Timpson’s team (also at the Garvan Institute), we show that remodeling of the stromal  tissue in and around pancreatic tumours may be the key to stopping their spread and improving chemotherapy outcomes.

Cancer cell CAF crosstalk

What we did

We already know that tumours are made up of heterogenous populations of cancer cells with different mutational landscapes. Furthermore, recently, the field has begun to realise that the cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) present in and around the tumour are also a diverse collection of  subpopulations.

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People: Amelia joins the team

Thomas R. Cox, Aug 2019

It’s with great excitement that we welcome our newest PostDoc to the team, Amelia Parker.

ameparAmelia joins us having returned from a PostDoctoral position at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA. Prior to this she completed her Ph.D. in the laboratories of Professor Maria Kavallaris and A/Prof Joshua McCarroll at The Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) in Sydney.

As a biomedical engineer and cancer biologist, Amelia is interested in the importance of the tumour microenvironment, and in particular the extracellular matrix (ECM) in driving tumour progression.

Amelia’s work will focus on the importance of the ECM in Lung Cancer onset and progression.

Publication: The Mini‐Organo: A rapid high‐throughput 3D coculture organotypic assay for oncology screening and drug development

Thomas R. Cox, Aug 2019

The Mini‐Organo: A rapid high‐throughput 3D coculture organotypic assay for oncology screening and drug development

Just published in Cancer Reports is our new protocol paper detailing the development of a rapid high-throughput (96wp) 3D organotypic coculture assay that is optimised for screening cancer cell and cancer-associated fibroblast response to drugs in physiologically relevant matrices.

Mini-Organo workflow

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Award: Jess wins ANZSCDB Best Poster

Thomas R. Cox, Jun 2019

Jess ANZSCDB Best Poster AwardCongratulations to Jess from the team, who today won the Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology (ANZCDB) Best Postdoctoral Poster Award.

The award was given as part of the NSW State Meeting of the ANZSCDB held at the University of Sydney. Jess’ poster presented her ongoing work developing new lysyl oxidase (LOX) inhibitors to treat pancreatic cancer.

The Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology exists to promote research and education in cell and developmental biology through the provision of a dynamic framework for collaboration and support. One of Australia’s oldest Scientific Societies, the ANZSCDB supports the cell and developmental biology research community across all levels, from students to senior researchers.

You can find our more about the ANZSCDB here.