Axis Bio plays key role in project aimed at improving treatment of ovarian cancer

Date posted: 21/02/2019 00:00:00

Axis Bio plays key role in project aimed at improving treatment of ovarian cancer

Preclinical CRO, Axis Bio announces its involvement in a new £2.6 million project led by Swansea University aimed at dramatically improving the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer - one of the deadliest forms of cancer for women - as incidences of the disease, particularly in younger women, continue to rise.

The Cluster for Epigenomic and Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) Therapeutics (CEAT) project, which has been awarded £1.2 million in funding from the European Regional Development Fund via the Welsh Government’s SMART Expertise programme and the Welsh European Funding Office, aims to utilise novel epigenetic drugs to manipulate chemical compounds creating a new route for the treatment of ovarian cancer. 

Dr Lewis Francis from Swansea University’s School of Medicine is one of the Principal Investigators from CEAT.  He said:  “Epigenetics involves chemical changes to the DNA and associated proteins that can lead to genes being turned on or off. In some cases this can go wrong and lead to disease. Through the CEAT project, Swansea University will work closely with CEAT partners to develop drugs that can control epigenetic signals; these epigenetic drugs can be targeted specifically towards ovarian cancer cells where epigenetic changes have occurred.”

The project is a Swansea University-led, Wales-centric partnership between key multi-national players GlaxoSmithKline (pharmaceuticals, UK), GE Healthcare (healthcare technologies, Sweden), and Bruker (healthcare technologies, USA) together with UK-based partners Porvair Sciences (epigenetic technologies – co-developed with SU), Axis Bio Limited (preclinical testing) and new ADC companies (Phase 2, ADCs) to enable the partners to deliver advances in Epigenetic and ADC based cancer therapeutics, and Epigenomic profiling for Precision Medicine, a key priority for Welsh Government. 

Speaking of their involvement, Dr Jenny Worthington, Scientific Director at Axis Bio said; “We are delighted, and privileged, to be at the forefront of developments into the treatment of ovarian cancer. Within CEAT, Axis will contribute to the development of drug resistant ovarian cancer models, evaluating these drugs for drug re-sensitisation, and establishing in vivo models for ADC development.”

Cancer Research UK statistics show ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer affecting females in the UK, with around 7,300 new cases in 2015. Advanced ovarian cancer has a five-year survival rate of only 5%. And the incidence of ovarian cancer in younger women continues to increase with a projected rate increase of 15% in the UK between 2014 and 2035 if no suitable interventions are developed and introduced into the NHS.

Representatives from all partner organisations travelled from throughout the UK as well as Northern Ireland, Sweden and California for the CEAT kick-off meeting held at Swansea University’s School of Medicine on 4 February.