CERFLUX Announces National Cancer Institute Award

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Grant will support development of low-cost and rapid Personalized Oncology Efficacy Test (POET) for Pancreatic Cancer

CerFlux, Inc., creators of advanced personalized medicine technology for specifically matching treatments to each cancer patient’s tumor before treatment, announced today the receipt of a $249,148 National Cancer Institute R43 grant to help fund continuing development of its low-cost, rapid Personalized Oncology Efficacy Test (POET) for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

What makes this endeavor particularly noteworthy is that it will not only expand the body of knowledge but, if successful, transform cancer treatment around the world. Today, less than 3% of funded research makes such a leap across the “valley of death” from new knowledge to innovation.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is among the deadliest cancers, with a less than 9% five-year survival rate. Without advances in technology like POET, the death rate from PDAC is estimated to increase to 60,000 deaths/year within the next 10 years. What makes PDAC particularly insidious is that a large number of patients aren’t diagnosed until the disease is at an advanced stage. While research and discovery are making new treatment options available, the lack of tools to quickly select the right treatment for each patient on a personalized basis creates a frustrating paradox in clinical decision-making. This is because every tumor is unique in its makeup and its response to treatment.

Without personalized predictive tools like POET, treatment is based on generalized parameters such as age, disease stage, etc. often leading to a mismatch between treatments and tumors. Consequently, about 75% of patients – nearly 3 out of 4 – have to endure first line chemotherapy that turns out to be ineffective because the treatment regimen did not match the patient’s tumor, imposing a substantial physical, emotional, and financial burden.

CerFlux POET addresses this critical, urgent, and unmet need for accessible and affordable predictive technologies that identify optimal therapy regimens and strategically eliminate ineffective options.

“Our goal for this phase of the project is to identify best practices for using POET in personalized therapy and to measure the degree to which the effectiveness of the treatment observed in POET approximates the response in the corresponding patient. The idea is to not only predict which ones will be effective but also identify those which would be potentially ineffective for that specific patient to reduce the pain and time,” explains CerFlux CEO Dr. Karim Budhwani.

This endeavor is further enhanced by a commercial-academic collaboration between CerFlux, Inc. and the James Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Ohio State University. This NCI funded project will build on recent work by the CerFlux team including a patented (US 10,114,010B1) biomimetic in vitro platform for pharmacological transport and pancreatic microtissue tumor models.

Dr. Allan Tsung, Director of the Gastrointestinal Disease Specific Research Group, adds, "I truly believe that the best cancer care is multidisciplinary care and similarly, advances in cancer research requires team science with multidisciplinary collaboration. The most innovative answers to problems are when you bring together ideas from different fields. Our team working together with CerFlux, Inc., embraces the belief at the Ohio State James Comprehensive Cancer Center that 'there is no routine cancer'. With advances in technology like POET, we strive to offer groundbreaking, personalized treatment options for all our patients battling cancer."

Predictive technologies like POET – that match each patient with the right treatment regimen BEFORE treatment is administered – will transform pancreatic cancer treatment in the near-term and make a difference in the lives of patients and their families, as well as providers around the world.

About CerFlux, Inc.
CerFlux, Inc., a Birmingham, Alabama, based biotech company, is creating advanced, personalized medicine solutions to rapidly identify the most effective cancer treatments for each patient on an individualized basis. While breakthroughs in biopharma discovery are helping to produce a library of treatment options, many new therapeutics are becoming more specialized and therefore effective for smaller populations. This underscores an even greater need for matching treatments to tumors on an individualized basis; ironically, cancer is a ubiquitous rare disease. Our goal is to build solutions that quickly and clearly separate optimal from ineffective options, so clinical teams can successfully treat the disease thereby improving treatment outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients.

Additional Information
To request collateral materials for publication or to schedule interviews with principals from CerFlux, Inc., please contact Rebecca Dobrinski at rsd@CerFlux.com or 205.335.3434 for availability.

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