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Home > Organization > Divisions and Independent Research Units > Group for Frontier Science > Division of Rare Cancer > Research Projects > Establishment of fundamental research resource of rare cancer: PDX (patient-derived xenograft) and PDX (Patient-derived cell)

Establishment of fundamental research resource of rare cancer: PDX (patient-derived xenograft) and PDX (Patient-derived cell)

Rare cancer research has a unique problem; “the number of patients is small, and the clinical materials are hardly available for research”. Probably because the clinical materials are not well available for research, the fundamental research tools are not well developed for the rare cancer research. Division of Rare Cancer Research addresses this issue.

Establishment of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) and patient-derived cell (PDC)

Patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) and patient-derived cells (PDCs) mimic the in vivo environment, and have been considered as essential tools for cancer research. The experiments using PDXs and PDCs can generate valuable information, which cannot be available otherwise. For example, the functional significances of novel genetic aberrations, and the mode of action of new anti-cancer drugs should be revealed by the experiments using living cancer cells. The PDXs and PDCs can be shared in the research community, facilitating cancer research. Patient-derived cancer models have been developed in many types of malignancies. However, they are not available in rare cancers. In the rare cancers, even cell lines are not well available. For example, in sarcomas, only a limited number of cell lines are publicly available from the cell banks. Considering that there are more than 50 histologically different sarcomas, and the treatments largely depend on the histology, patient-derived cancer models for individual sarcomas are an urgent requirement. Moreover, the cell lines available from the public cell banks have several limitations in quality; the information of clinical and genetic backgrounds of cell lines are not opened, and the diagnostic criteria for the original tumors of cell lines are out of data. These problems are not limited to sarcomas, but also exist in other rare cancers.

Division of Rare Cancer addresses these problems by collaborating with Department of Innovative Seeds Evaluation and Central Animal Division in the institute, Division of Musculoskeletal Oncology in the hospital. We have been focusing on sarcomas, and established patient-derived sarcoma models using surgically resected tumor tissues. The established models are pathologically examined in collaboration with Department of Pathology and Clinical Laboratories in the hospital. The molecular backgrounds of the established models are examined to determine the genetic aberrations, which can be targets of molecular targeting drugs. We also collaborate with Division of Brain Tumor Translational Research in the institute to establish the models of malignant brain tumors. The procedures to establish the in vitro models depend on the histology of malignancies, and we try to establish the protocols to improve the efficacy of establishment. We also aim to construct the system to share the established models with other researchers.
We launched the project of patient-derived cancer model in 2014. Since then, we established many patient-derived cancer models. We use them to develop the novel therapy for rare cancers.