You might wonder how fruit flies can help provide therapy choices for cancer. My Therapeutics utilizes distinctive genetic sequence data from a tumor of a patient and recreates the same genetic tumor in a fruit fly. They can then produce an army of hundreds of thousands of these tumor-bearing fruit flies (called ‘ avatars ‘) as well as test many distinct drugs and drug combinations approved by the FDA to see which most efficiently keeps the fruit flies alive (mainly treating the cancer). These combinations of drugs are provided to the physicians of the patient, who eventually decide which drugs are best for the patient. On their website, you can find an excellent video summary of their technology.
BioSpace spoke to Laura Towart, My Personal Therapeutics ‘ founder and CEO, to know more about the business and how its ‘ avatar ‘ fruit technology operates.
Why did you decide to use fruit flies?
Laura: The Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly has been used for over a century to comprehend fundamental biological values, including those governing cell growth and proliferation under both physiological and pathological circumstances. Most oncogenic signaling pathways are extremely conserved between fruit flies and humans, making this organism ideal for the production of tumor-bearing animals adapted to a specific genetic condition of the patient.
As an experimental animal model, fruit flies also inherently give many benefits. Their brief life cycle (about 10 days) and countless descendants enable fast research and outcomes to be generated, which is essential when a patient is waiting for therapy alternatives. Their tiny size is essential because in a very tiny room we can use big numbers of these animals to screen drugs. Each drug is thus screened in a large amount of flies, making the assessment viable, safe and cost-effective owing to the use of insignificant quantities of drugs and low maintenance costs compared to other animal models.