09 February 2021 | Lassen Therapeutics Announces Collaboration with the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute to Study the Role of IL-11 Signaling and Inhibition in Preclinical Models of Breast Cancer

Goal is to demonstrate proof of principle in targeting IL-11 receptor as a potential treatment of primary tumors and metastatic lesions

 San Diego, CA, February 9, 2021 – Lassen Therapeutics a biotechnology company developing antibodies as potential treatments for fibrosis and oncology, today announced a collaboration with the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) in Melbourne, Australia. The collaboration will study the role of IL-11 signaling and assess the potential of monoclonal antibodies that block IL-11 signaling in preclinical models of triple negative breast cancer.

 Combating tumor progression through inhibition of cytokines that play a key role in the tumor microenvironment, such as IL-11, is emerging as an important therapeutic approach.

“IL-11 is overexpressed in many types of cancer as well as in nearby cancer associated fibroblasts, which constitute an essential component of the tumor microenvironment,” said Mark Barrett, Chief Executive Officer of Lassen. “Data suggest that IL-11 signaling between the tumor and the surrounding tumor microenvironment affects tumor proliferation, progression, and metastasis, and may also contribute to the development of resistance to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Targeting the IL-11 axis in cancer therefore offers a therapeutic opportunity either as a single agent, or for patients with resistant disease, in combination with chemotherapy or immunotherapies.  We believe our collaboration with the exceptional team at the ONJCRI will further elucidate the importance of IL-11 signaling in cancer.”

The ONJCRI team is led by Matthias Ernst, Ph.D., director of the Institute and head of the Cancer and Inflammation Program, along with Ashwini Chand, Ph.D., head of the Cancer Therapeutics Development Group. Prof. Ernst is a member of Lassen’s scientific advisory board.

“Our collaboration with Lassen will explore IL-11 in different contexts, including combination with chemotherapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors,” said Prof. Ernst. “We anticipate that the outcome of these preclinical studies will serve as a proof of principle of the efficacy of antibodies targeting the IL-11 receptor as a complement to existing treatment of primary tumors and metastatic lesions.”

About Lassen Therapeutics

Lassen Therapeutics develops antibodies as potential treatments for fibrosis, rare diseases, and oncology. The company’s lead candidate is LASN01, a best-in-class monoclonal antibody targeting IL-11 receptor alpha (IL-11R).  IL-11, a member of the IL-6 family of cytokines, is a central mediator of fibrosis and blocking its activity has the potential to be more effective than targeting other factors such as TGF-β and CTGF.  IL-11 is also a pivotal effector of tumor microenvironment organization and tumor growth, playing a key role as a mediator between cancer and stromal cells. For more information, please visit

About the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, as the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, is a leader in the development of experimental and breakthrough cancer treatments. We investigate and develop treatments for cancers of the breast, bowel and gastrointestinal tract, lung, skin, prostate, liver and brain. Our researchers and clinician scientists lead clinical trials, giving patients access to potential new treatments including immunotherapies and personalised medicine. We are integrated within the Olivia Newton-John Centre in Melbourne, with research laboratories only metres away from where patients are cared for and receive treatment. This inspires and enables the rapid translation of our scientific discoveries into clinical trials of new, better, cancer treatments. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Christine Quern