Citylabs Lounge- a new personalised approach to Cancer treatments


Citylabs Lounge- a new personalised approach to Cancer treatments

Every six weeks, Citylabs Lounge brings together clinicians, academics and businesses based in the heart of Manchester’s Innovation District. Located on the largest clinical campus in Europe, Citylabs 1.0 is a perfect place to discuss some of the most topical and important issues across healthcare and life sciences. This month we heard from MSP customer, Imagen Therapeutics, about its innovative work in the personalisation of cancer treatments.

Doctor Rod Benson, the Chief Operating Manager of Imagen Therapeutics, began by looking back at traditional methods of identifying changes in our cells. Dr. Benson explained that while for many years scientists had been producing complex imagery of cells via fluorescence microscopy, which was work intensive and time consuming, it is only recently that we are able to replace humans with computers. The use of computers has enabled highly accurate and reliable data in a quicker time. For Imagen Therapeutics, this is vital for getting patient-specific data to determine whether the individual’s cancer will respond to a particular drug therapy.

Founded in 2007 by former industry experts in High-content analysis, Imagen Therapeutics set out with the aim of developing a rapid and highly specific High-content screening analysis that can directly measure cellular behaviour. Dr. Benson explained that cancer is not a singular disease. Every cancer has it's own unique creation resulting from the individual's unique genetics, so it is important not to treat each case the same. Their innovative work is a breakthrough from current methods of stratifying patients into generalised groups, and instead enables the study of cell death behaviour in each specific patient, with routine screening of up to 56 different chemotherapies on primary patient cancer tissue.

Imagen Therapeutics’ base at Citylabs 1.0 has been essential for the constant development and accuracy of its tests in determining which personalised Cancer treatments work best for individuals. Dr Benson explained that working at Citylabs 1.0 has allowed quick and easy access to tissues and cells by having MRI and the Central Manchester University Hospitals on his doorstep. He also gave thanks to the University of Manchester students that have helped with research as well as the other partners working on personalised medicine approaches co-located on campus.