Meet SIWA Therapeutics, the startup challenging aging, cancer and degenerative diseases. Senescent cells (cells that have stopped dividing due to damage) are causally connected with aging and aging-related diseases, including cancer. “While they don’t divide like cancer cells, senescent cells are highly active metabolically,” explains SIWA co-founder and acting Chief Scientific Officer, Lewis Gruber. “They can poison the tumor micro-environment — inducing, progressing and metastasizing cancer in the cells around them.” Therefore, Gruber and SIWA developed a monoclonal antibody, SIWA 318H, that is sensitive to a marker appearing on both senescent cells and cancer cells, ultimately binding to the cell, destroying it and removing the debris.
“In our first in-vivo study, we successfully removed the senescent cells,” explains SIWA co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Misty Gruber. “In the second in-vivo study, we reduced breast cancer metastasis. So basically, we didn’t just prevent — we stopped the metastasis that was ongoing. We believe we can interfere with this process.”
Future-forward. While their focus, for now, is combating cancer, Misty goes on to say that the applications for SIWA 318H are nearly endless: “Antibodies like SIWA 318H are universally useful and applicable. We hope to find partners that will help us treat all aging-related diseases, of which there are hundreds.” SIWA Therapeutics even has explored the non-pharmaceutical aspects of their antibody, including developing a veterinary aging database: “This way we can diversify our revenue streams early.”
Like RedCrow, SIWA Therapeutics is driven by the need to challenge the status quo. “When we started, no one thought metastasis was related to senescent cells,” says Lewis. “Now, it’s generally understood and regarded. So much focus is on increasing life span. We’re focused on increasing health span — keeping patients healthy, and therefore happy, for longer.”
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