OxStem Oncology aims to identify a new class of drugs that will differentiate 'cancer stem-like cells' (CSLCs) to more benign states that will improve clinical outcomes and overcome resistance/relapse.

Cancer remains a global challenge with an increasing worldwide incidence and mortality. Current approaches to cancer treatment can dramatically shrink tumours or prolong progression-free survival in a fraction of patients with cancer, however the responses are often temporary and disappointing in the longer term due to the emergence of resistance.

Within a tumour CSLCs are a small population of cells that have the ability to self-renew, as well as to differentiate into the heterogeneous cell types that constitute the bulk of the tumour. These CSLCs persist unaffected by numerous therapeutic interventions, suggesting that they may be responsible for the emergence of therapy resistance. The majority of research efforts to develop agents to target these CSLCs aim to kill these cell populations.

OxStem Oncology is taking a very different approach to treatment. We aim to develop drugs to induce the differentiation of these small subsets of cells responsible for tumour initiation, growth and regrowth, to become benign or susceptible to current treatment options, vastly improving long-term prognosis.

OxStem Oncology currently has two discovery phase projects – one targeting Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and one targeting Myelodysplastic Syndromes.

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