Gustave Roussy has the patients and the capacity to launch a clinical trial, SEngine Precision Medicine has the advanced robotics technologies and a powerful strike force. Between them, they hope to answer a question in which many hopes have been placed: “Are organoids useful in clinical applications and are they of benefit to patients?” said Fanny Jaulin, a researcher at Gustave Roussy, and scientific co-ordinator of the Organotreat clinical trial.
According to her, this internationally important question cannot be raised in the context of a laboratory. “Organotreat, the clinical trial that we are about to launch, will include a large number of patients and requires working with a solid industrial partner, a biotech company that can carry out robust and standardized tests.” That partner is Seattle-based startup SEngine Medical Precision.
“Combining SEngine’s expertise with our large-scale clinical trial on patient tumor organoids is a great opportunity to develop and evaluate functional personalized medicine based on cellular approaches,” Fanny Jaulin, researcher at Gustave Roussy and scientific co-ordinator of the Organotreat clinical trial.
The Inserm team that Fanny Jaulin has been leading for the last nine years at Gustave Roussy cultivates organoid colonies in the laboratory. Twenty-five anti-cancer drugs are tested on these pieces of tumor taken from patients, in order to identify which ones are effective in preventing the tumor from growing back. Like an antibiogram, a chemogram is thus generated.
In general, precision medicine is based on genome sequencing. The mutations that cause cancer are researched and in a relatively small percentage of cases, it is possible to administer drugs that target them. With this new approach, the idea is simply to see which drugs work on organoids. Each tumor and each patient are unique and ultimately the aim would be to find a customized last line of treatment in ten weeks.
As soon as the joint venture is formalized, common premises will be found in Paris and the Organotreat clinical trial will be able to start, a multi-center phase I clinical trial. The first segment will involve approximately 100 patients with colon cancer. The other segment will involve a cohort of several hundred patients with pancreatic cancer.