Stratatech awarded $1.7M federal grant

Stratatech awarded $1.7M federal grant

MADISONStratatech Corp., a Madison firm that produces cell-based skin substitutes for medical research and therapeutic applications, has been awarded a $1.7-million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Under the grant, Stratatech will begin development of a novel, cell-based gene therapy product targeted to the treatment of skin cancer. The product is intended to help to prevent the recurrence of skin cancers after surgical removal of the primary tumor and promote surgical wound-healing.
NCI estimates that more than 1 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2009, including more than 62,000 new cases of melanoma. More than 8,400 deaths due to malignant melanoma occur each year in the United States. Although most skin cancers do not metastasize and are generally amenable to surgical removal, some tumors can be locally invasive and disfiguring. In addition, tumor recurrence near the site of the original tumor is the leading cause of treatment failure.
With the aid of this NCI grant, Stratatech intends to develop a living skin substitute that will stimulate the patient’s immune system to eliminate any cancerous cells remaining after tumor removal. In addition, the skin substitute is expected to produce a variety of wound-healing factors that will promote the healing of the surgical wound. Successful completion of the research under this grant will position Stratatech to begin clinical development of this technology for ultimate approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We are delighted to receive NCI funding for this project, which could make a significant contribution to how skin-cancer patients are treated,” said Lynn Allen-Hoffmann, Ph.D., president and chief executive of Stratatech. “Not only do we believe that our StrataGraft® tissue can promote wound-healing at the site of tumor removal, we also believe that our living skin substitute being developed with the assistance of this grant will help prevent the recurrence of skin cancer there. We look forward to advancing this new product to clinical trial.”