Current treatments for epithelial carcinomas need support in delaying metastasis and treatment resistance.

From 2003 to 2021, of all the 124 FDA-approved novel drugs for cancer, the net improvement in average overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) was 2.8 and 3.3 months, respectively, for all solid cancers. These numbers expose the stark reality of treating all solid tumours; despite the era of targeted/precision medicine and immune therapy, little progress has been made on overall survival. Recurring treatment resistance and metastasis of the primary tumour are the two most important factors contributing to poor survival statistics. Ironically, though 90% of cancer patient deaths are eventually due to tumour metastasis, there are almost no drugs that can delay or prevent metastasis.

Over the last three years, Mestastop has relentlessly pursued basic biology to understand why such an unmet need was yet to be addressed, focussing on understanding the pathophysiology of metastasis in multiple solid tumours while studying both cell lines and patient samples. Contrary to popular belief that larger tumour size is directly proportional to the probability of metastasis and targeting these proliferating cells would abrogate the process of metastasis, Mestastop has shown that the rate-limiting critical steps of metastasis are different, and they can only be targeted by focussing on the metastatic cells and not on the proliferating cells.

Three Mestastop platforms, created over the last three years and translationally validated in patient samples in prospective and retrospective studies, bring a new promise that can empower biopharma in its fight against metastasis and treatment resistance. The first platform, METAssay™, dissects metastasis biology in thirty cellular assays and characterisation steps, ably distinguishing the unique differences between a metastatic and a proliferating tumour cell, which can be exploited for drug discovery. The second platform, METSCAN™, integrates patient data into the METAssay™ panel to identify the most critical steps contributing to successful metastasis. Therefore, METSCAN™ can be implemented for both discovery and predictive diagnostics. The final platform, METVivo™, employs proprietary engineered cells of Mestastop to create a unique orthoptic spontaneous metastasis animal model having a hundred per cent lymph node and organ metastasis, but only taking six weeks to get completed.  Together, METAssay™ and METVivo™ enhance the efficiency of drug discovery around metastasis and METSCAN™ helps identify both novel targets and patients at higher risk of metastasis.

All relevant data has been presented over the last three years in the form of eight posters in some of the best meetings in cancer biology, including AACR 2021, EACR, 2021 and 2022, BACR 2022 and Metastasis Research Society meetings in November 2021, January 2022 and November 2022. Two international patents have been filed, and national phase filing will commence in February 2023.

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