During National Cancer Month, we are reminded how many mothers, fathers, daughters and sons we lose annually to this disease. In 2022, an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases will occur and nearly 610,000 individuals are expected to die from the disease. To date, only 50% of late stage patients have a favorable response to the first drug they are prescribed to combat their illness. These statistics are especially staggering for colorectal cancer.
Today, the first line treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC) is 5-Fluorouracil (5FU), which was discovered in 1957. Despite billions of dollars invested in oncology drug discovery research, we are still using a drug that was discovered over 60 years ago as the first line treatment in 2022. Unfortunately, less than 20% of patients respond favorably to this therapy, resulting in ~50,000 individuals dying from CRC in the US annually and a median survival rate of less than 2 years.
Currently, most drugs that make it to Phase III clinical trials fail because they aren’t effective in targeted patients. This is because standard drug development cannot account for the differences between individuals that drive treatment response– they cannot model whose cancer will respond to a new drug before dosing patients in clinical trials. Our platform provides us the unique ability to understand patient response a priori to translate new treatments to clinical success. We use patient cells to test new treatments well before they enter the clinic to measure efficacy and identify responsive patient populations before ever dosing a person.
At Known Medicine, we create thousands of micro-tumors from patient tumor samples and test hundreds of drugs on each to determine treatment response. Our machine learning-based sensitivity assay, paired with -omics data from patients, allows us to identify predictive biomarkers and the most likely responders for any new drug. We are currently engaging in partnerships, in-licensing and co-developing assets, and will discover new drugs as our data set grows.