What are PDX Models and How Can They Help Us?

If you’ve been in the lung cancer world for even a short time, you’ve probably realized that there are TONS of acronyms that are used every day. Even if you’ve heard of PDX models before, you may not be completely clear about what they are and how they can help us improve our lung cancer outcomes.

What does PDX stand for?

The acronym “PDX” stands for patient-derived xenograft. A “xenograft” is a portion of tissue that is transplanted from a human to a recipient of a different species. In order to make a PDX model for lung cancer, a portion of a patient’s tumor is implanted in a special mouse that is used for cancer research. Once that tissue successfully grows in the mouse, it can be passed directly to other mice to create a line of models. The tumors grown in these mice retain features similar to the original tumor from the patient.

Researchers have found that they can often predict important information about lung cancer in patients by looking at PDX models that are created. Therefore, they use specific PDX models in order to understand how certain subsets of lung cancer begin and spread in tumors, how these tumors respond to treatment, and what happens when tumors stop responding to treatment.

Launching a new research project

In November, the EGFR Resisters Patient Group launched a project in collaboration with the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI), Champions Oncology and Pasi A. Jänne, MD, Ph.D. of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in order to create a new line of PDX models. The aim of these models is to help researchers better understand why patients living with EGFR positive lung cancer develop resistance to treatment over time or do not respond at all.

This project will focus on studying the cancers of patients previously treated with osimertinib or those with EGFR or HER2 exon 20 insertion mutations. In order to participate, patients in the U.S. or Canada who require biopsies or surgeries for medical reasons will be asked to donate a small portion of their tumor or pleural fluid. There will be no need for these patients to travel to another location to participate; everything can be coordinated through their home institutions.

Hope for the future

The EGFR Resisters are hoping that a lot can be learned about resistance to EGFR treatments through the creation of these new PDX models. Once there is a bank of models developed, it will be possible for researchers to test novel drugs and developing compounds to combat resistance in these models to see if they should be moved into clinical trials.

If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity to participate in real-life research through the creation of PDX models, please click HERE.

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