Preclinical Animal Models in Cancer Supportive Care  
Biomodels LLC logo
September 25, 2019



Webinar Description:

Radiation and/or chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis, dermatitis, proctitis, and GI mucositis/chemotherapy-induced diarrhea (CID) are frequent and debilitating side effects of cancer treatment. Treatment of these side effects (and several others) is often referred to as cancer supportive care. Specifically, oral ulcerative mucositis is a common, painful, dose-limiting toxicity of drug and radiation therapy for cancer characterized by breakdown of the oral mucosa which results in the formation of ulcerative lesions; it occurs in almost all patients undergoing radiation therapy for cancer of the head and neck as well as a high percentage of patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation and/or chemotherapy treatment. Radiation-induced dermatitis is an inflammatory condition of the skin often occurring as a result of exposure to ionizing radiation during radiation therapy for a variety of malignancies. Proctitis is associated with radiation directed to the abdomen and/or pelvis in the treatment of rectal, prostate, or cervical malignancies; proctitis symptoms include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, discharge of mucus and tenesmus, a feeling or inability to empty the bowel upon defecation (likely a result of extensive rectal tissue fibrosis or possibly the formation of rectal strictures). Diarrhea is one of the most common toxicities associated with chemotherapy, reported in up to 80% of patients, and uncontrolled CID can result in serious physical (dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, renal insufficiency, immune dysfunction, disruption of treatment, and even death), emotional (anxiety depression, caregiver strain) and economic (hospitalization) outcomes.

Collectively, research into Cancer Supportive Care has rapidly emerged as a significant growth area for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry as a result of the dramatic improvement in the survivorship of cancer patients. Focus is now rapidly shifting to the development of new drugs and therapeutics that address the unintended complications that can result from cancer treatment. Biomodels is a leader in Cancer Supportive Care research through its expertise in developing innovative models based on a thorough understanding of the toxicities associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy in an oncology setting.

While Biomodels is widely recognized for its groundbreaking work in oral mucositis, we have also developed innovative models for proctitis, dermatitis, and GI mucositis/Chemotherapy-induced Diarrhea. This webinar will showcase translational and predictive animal models of cancer supportive care that focus on the underlying biological processes of each disease described above. Additionally, the webinar will provide an overview of each clinical condition and how the utilization of both traditional and functional analyses in our animal models result in outcomes that will best predict how your therapeutic will behave in the clinic. Finally, we will discuss the importance that the FDA has placed on obtaining novel cancer supportive care therapeutic preclinical efficacy data in contextually accurate tumor / treatment models, so as to show that a novel therapy directed toward treatment-associated toxicities will not cause unintended consequences toward exacerbation of tumor growth / progression, and/or mitigation of the efficacy of the anti-tumor treatment.

Learning Objective

  • Learn how preclinical models at Biomodels can be leveraged to advance a diverse range of therapeutic strategies in cancer supportive care.


Jesus D.Mena, Ph.D.
Scientist II
Regulatory Compliance Manager, IACUC Chair
Biomodels, LLC


Dr. Mena joined Biomodels in 2013 after completing his post-doctoral fellowship at Tufts-New England Medical Center. Jesus received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.S. in Biology and Psychology from Tufts University. His doctoral work, which centered on elucidating the role of prefrontal cortical opioids in the regulation of feeding, has served him well as he often leads Biomodels’ neuroscience studies. In addition to his scientist role, Jesus serves as Biomodels’ regulatory compliance manager, where he oversees protocol preparation, facilitates report writing and analysis and anchors quality assurance programs to ensure seamless and successful completion of studies.

Gregory D. Lyng, Ph.D.
Chief Operating Officer
Biomodels, LLC


As Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Lyng is responsible for the oversight of all Biomodels’ preclinical research programs, day-to-day management of company operations, and strategic growth of the research/business portfolio. Additionally, Greg works closely with Biomodels’ clients to ensure proper study design and utilization of the most appropriate and clinically relevant models of disease in which to test potential therapeutics. Greg’s scientific expertise lies in the areas of inflammatory disease, cancer supportive care, and diseases of the central nervous system. Since joining Biomodels in 2007, and prior to his role as COO, Greg served in varying capacities, from Scientist to Director of Research. He has been instrumental in the expansion of the business through building client relationships as well as increasing the number and clinical translatability of the disease models offered by Biomodels. Dr. Lyng received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University at Albany School of Public Health and his B.S. in Neuroscience from St. Lawrence University.

Benjamin G. Cuiffo, Ph.D.
Principal Scientist
Biomodels, LLC


Dr. Cuiffo joined Biomodels in 2015 after completing his postdoctoral studies at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, where he was an American Cancer Society Fellow. His postdoctoral work centered upon elucidating the molecular mechanisms of tumor metastasis in preclinical in vitro and in vivo models. Ben brings additional expertise in the biology of tumor- initiating (cancer stem cells) and invasive phenotypes, oncogenic signaling pathways, and noncoding RNAs in cancer. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from Brandeis University, where he developed novel strategies to target the RAS oncogene in animal models of leukemia. As the Lead Oncology Scientist at Biomodels, Ben’s active collaboration with clients has optimized the utility, efficiency and translational meaningfulness of a broad range of developing small molecules and immunologically-based therapies.