The HuGEMM range of cancer models comprises strains of mouse in which the gene encoding a protein called PD-1, a key modulator of immune response, has been replaced with the gene encoding the human version of the protein.
In healthy cells, PD-1 prevents autoimmunity by promoting apoptosis – programmed cell death – in antigen specific T cells and reducing it in suppressor T cells.
PD-1 is a target for drug developers, with the theory being that inhibiting its immunosuppressive function will prompt the immune system to attack tumour cells.
Mice also have a PD-1 protein.
However, the difference between human and mouse PD-1 means that, until now, mouse models have not been very useful for assessing monoclonal antibody (mAb) candidates according to Jean-Pierre Wery, Crown Bioscience president.
“With HuGEMM, there is now a robust model system in place to enable scientists to assess the efficacy of human biologic therapeutics directly without resorting to mouse surrogates.”
The models were developed in collaboration with CrownBio’s partner, Nanjing Galaxy Biopharmaceutical.
According to CrownBio the partnership “is expected to continue to advance both organizations’ research capabilities in immuno-oncology.”
The launch of the new cancer models follows a month after CrownBio bolstered its cardiovascular and metabolic disease model offering through the acquisition of PreClinOmics.