Mestag Therapeutics™, a new company developing innovative therapies and treatments for cancers and inflammatory diseases, has been launched with $11 million in seed financing. In collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), Mestag is pursuing a first-in-class therapeutic strategy that focuses on cells called fibroblasts, which can impede the effectiveness of traditional cancer treatments.
The approach was developed by an international team of researchers, including CSHL Cancer Center Director David Tuveson, whose lab has its sights set squarely on eradicating pancreatic cancer. The Tuveson lab has studied fibroblasts, the most common connective tissue cells in animals, because fibroblasts activated by cancer cells secrete a matrix that makes up about 90% of pancreatic tumors. This matrix prevents cancer treatments from reaching the cancer cells; once it is removed, cancer therapies can better reach their intended targets.
Learn more about the role fibroblasts play in pancreatic cancer:
Mestag is using state-of-the-art methods to understand fibroblasts with exquisite precision. Research has shown a relationship between the number of fibroblasts and the disease progression or response to treatment in some cancers.
“CSHL is pleased to collaborate with Mestag, sharing our knowledge of fibroblasts in pancreatic cancer to develop a new way to treat cancer,” said Andrew Whiteley, CSHL vice president of the Business Development & Technology Transfer department. “The Tuveson lab has revealed how fibroblast cells can be activated to either promote or prevent inflammatory conditions ripe for cancer and this means fibroblasts may be a new tool in cancer treatment.”