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Epistem’s Gold Standard Models Can Be Used To Assess Whether a Novel Therapeutic Agent Causes Mucositis or Whether a Potential Treatments Can Prevent or Mitigate This Side Effect

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the most common and effective oncology therapies but adversely affect healthy tissues. Ongoing research seeks to improve the precision and effectiveness of these therapies while minimising their impact on healthy tissues. Epistem's mucositis team have been working in this area for over 20 years and have been involved with the preclinical development of many candidate therapies.

Why Mucositis?

Mucositis is a form of ulceration and can be intestinal or oral. It is the result of interrupted epithelial cell production, usually due to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The ulcers can lead to infections, be painful and dose-limiting.

Epistem’s Models for Assessing Mucositis

Intestinal mucositis models use similar techniques to those employed for GI Toxicity and GI-ARS. In both GI and oral mucositis, reduced cell output with continued cell migration causes a thinning of the epithelium that can result in ulceration. Since tissue survival and regeneration is dependent on survival of the clonogenic cells, protection and regeneration of this population is crucial. Epistem provides unique and specialised models to confirm the effects on this cell population and the speed of repair.

With systemic therapy, the effects are often experienced first in the intestine (due to its rapid turnover rate) followed by the oral epithelium (which, whilst slower to manifest, can be significantly more painful, often leading to reduction in treatment dose and hence efficacy). Oral mucositis is also often experienced by those receiving radiotherapy for head and neck cancers. Epistem models measure the duration and severity of the thinning of the oral mucosa.


  • Diarrhoea
  • Intestinal crypt loss and regeneration
  • Oral epithelial thinning and regeneration
  • Apoptosis of defined populations
  • Ulceration/inflammation


  • Histology / Immunohistochemistry and image analysis
  • Protein / Gene expression (including specific areas using laser capture microscopy)


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