PDX Finder – Free global portal for cancer models

by Oana Stroe

PDX Finder is the first free open online catalogue for cancer models

First global online catalogue of PDX models facilitates collaboration and helps cancer researchers save valuable time

The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) have jointly developed the first open cancer research portal for Patient Derived Xenograft (PDX) models. The freely available PDX Finder is hosted by EMBL-EBI and catalogues PDX models from numerous global repositories. The PDX Finder web portal offers significant potential for collaborative research, as well as time savings for researchers, who now only have to search one central catalogue instead of going through a range of individual and distributed resources.

Clinically relevant

Researchers create PDX mouse models by implanting tumour fragments from cancer patients into mice with suppressed immune function. These models give researchers an idea of how a specific patient would react to a specific drug.

“Preclinical models such as PDX models are very important predictors of the efficacy of anticancer therapies, which currently have a high failure rate in clinical trials,” says Nathalie Conte, PDX Finder Project Lead at EMBL-EBI. “Cancer models are essential for understanding and treating cancer. PDX models are increasingly recognised as clinically relevant because they retain the patient tumour characteristics and imitate a specific patient’s response to drugs more accurately than other models. However, until now, there was no open central catalogue for PDX models. PDX Finder enables cancer researchers to search through a wider variety of models more quickly. This saves valuable time and enables collaborations.”

Centralised catalogue

As the use of PDX models increases, so does the need to for a central repository for these models. PDX Finder joins together many of these individual efforts, as it builds on The Jackson Laboratory’s PDX resource which was developed in partnership with more than 20 medical centres in the United States, and EMBL-EBI’s membership of EurOPDX. This ensures that the scope and reach of PDX Finder is wider than any other individual resource available.

“Both EMBL-EBI and JAX received independent funding from the National Cancer Institute for projects that included implementation of online catalogues for PDX models,” noted Carol Bult, Scientific Director of the JAX PDX Resource. “Both groups had the goal to help basic and clinical cancer researchers find relevant models fast. With approval from the NCI, we instead collaborated to build a single, unified portal with international scope.”

The initial release of PDX Finder contains over 1900 models from multiple repositories. The models spancancers of the digestive system, respiratory tract, skin, breast, urinary system and more.

High quality models

The launch of the PDX Finder comes just months after EMBL-EBI and The Jackson Laboratory published the PDX Minimal Information standard, which sets standards for basic information needed to describe essential properties of a PDX model. The standard was the result of a significant community effort that involved over 30 academic and commercial institutes globally. The standard ensures that every model in PDX Finder is carefully described to help researchers choose the most relevant ones.

Researchers can search for PDX models and submit their own on the PDX Finder website: www.pdxfinder.org.

This post was originally published on EMBL-EBI News.

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