SkylineDx and VIB Initiate Joint Research Program on Immune Prediction
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands and SAN DIEGO, Dec. 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- SkylineDx, an innovative molecular diagnostics company, is thrilled to announce that a collaborative project for precision medicine, POINTILLISM 2.0, has been selected for funding as part of the prestigious VIB Grand Challenges Program1. This program aims to stimulate the development of socially impactful science. The significant milestone marks the first result of the company's strategic partnership2 with VIB, Flanders' leading life sciences institute, and potentially signifies an important step forward in the field of cancer immunotherapy for patients with advanced malignant melanoma (aMM) and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
POINTILLISM 2.0, officially titled "Validation of Multi-Parametric Predictive Biomarkers for Cancer Immunotherapy," is set to commence in December 2023 and will extend over a period of three years. This project is designed to independently validate several promising markers discovered in POINTILLISM 1.0. POINTILLISM 1.0 used innovative single-cell technologies to identify mechanisms of response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in first-line treatment of aMM and neoadjuvant treatment of TNBNC.
POINTILLISM 2.0 is a collaborative effort that reflects its interdisciplinary nature by bringing together research and tech transfer groups from VIB, KU Leuven and Skyline Dx, as well as oncologists, surgeons, pathologists from the University Hospital (UZ) Leuven, to work in synergy. The project benefits from the expertise of VIB-KU Leuven's Center for Cancer Biology (CCB), which is renowned for its work in studying the tumor microenvironment and the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer cells as well as the valorization expertise of the VIB Innovation & Business team. Unique aspects of this project include the collection of retrospectively and prospectively collected blood and tumor samples from cancer patients, the assessment of multiple markers of response, and the exploration of baseline and on-treatment predictive biomarkers in both tumor and liquid biopsies. Additionally, POINTILLISM 2.0 is designed to create lasting societal impact. ICB is effective for treatment of various cancers, but unfortunately only a subset of patients responds to these therapies. An important unmet clinical need is to identify biomarkers that predict which patients are likely to respond or develop resistance, sparing non-responders severe adverse events and mitigating unsustainable healthcare costs associated with these agents.
Dharminder Chahal, SkylineDx CEO, said: "POINTILLISM 2.0 represents a crucial step toward personalizing cancer treatment and improving patient outcomes. We are proud to partner with VIB and esteemed researchers to bring this pioneering project to fruition. This exciting collaboration demonstrates the power of partnerships between industry and academia in driving innovation and advancing healthcare solutions."
SkylineDx is a biotechnology company focused on research & development of molecular diagnostics in oncology and inflammatory diseases. SkylineDx uses its expertise to bridge the gap between academically discovered gene expression signatures and commercially available diagnostic products with high clinical utility, assisting healthcare professionals in accurately determining the type or status of disease or predicting a patient's response to treatment. Based on test results, healthcare professionals can tailor the treatment approach to the individual patient. SkylineDx is headquartered in Rotterdam. the Netherlands, complemented by a U.S. base of operations and a CAP/CLIA certified laboratory in San Diego California, USA. To learn more about SkylineDx, please visit www.skylinedx.com.
VIB's core mission is to generate disruptive insights in the molecular underpinning of life and to translate these actively into impactful innovations for patients and society. VIB is an independent research institute where some 1,800 top scientists from Belgium and abroad conduct pioneering basic research. As such, they are pushing the boundaries of what we know about molecular mechanisms and how they rule living organisms such as human beings, animals, plants, and microorganisms. Based on a close partnership with five Flemish universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Hasselt University – and supported by a solid funding program, VIB unites the expertise of all its collaborators and research groups in a single institute. VIB's technology transfer activities translate research results into concrete benefits for society such as new diagnostics and therapies and agricultural innovations. These applications are often developed by young start-ups from VIB or through collaborations with other companies. This also leads to additional employment and bridges the gap between scientific research and entrepreneurship. VIB also engages actively in the public debate on biotechnology by developing and disseminating a wide range of science-based information. More info can be found on www.vib.be.
About the VIB Grand Challenges Program
Science can make great contributions to societal progress and increased well-being. To further stimulate the development of socially impactful scientific advances, VIB has established the VIB Grand Challenges Program. Through the 'grand challenges strategy', VIB seeks to support and stimulate global, transdisciplinary, multi-institutional collaborative projects. In each of these projects, various VIB groups collaborate with several external partners from universities and university hospitals across Flanders and beyond. This form of cooperation ensures that new hypotheses can be tested starting from observations, issues and needs out of practice, leading to new insights that can concomitantly be validated in a clinical setting with the final aim to result in benefits for patients. More info can be found on https://vib.be/en/research-and-impact/grand-challenges
About KU Leuven
KU Leuven is Europe's most innovative university (Reuters) and ranks 45nd in the Times Higher Education World University rankings. As Belgium's largest university, KU Leuven welcomes 65,000 students from over 140 countries. Its 8,000 researchers are active in a comprehensive range of disciplines. KU Leuven is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and has a strong European and international orientation. University Hospitals Leuven, its network of research hospitals, provides high-quality healthcare and develops new therapeutic and diagnostic insights with an emphasis on translational research.
About UZ Leuven
UZ Leuven is a university hospital where patients can count on specialised care and innovative treatments, combined with humane attention and respect for every person. Every day, more than 10,000 passionate employees provide the best possible custom-made care. Future care providers and employees receive high-quality training in UZ Leuven, with a view lifelong learning and innovation. As a pioneer in clinical research, the hospital also contributes to future patient care.
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