Pan-cancer Model Systems
Understanding the biology of many childhood cancers, while expanding, remains in many instances insufficient for the development of novel treatments for these young patients. Pan-cancer model systems, including cell lines and xenografts, have been applied in basic research to expand the knowledge of cancer mechanisms and treatment response. These model systems have been limited for pediatric cancers; however, an increasing number are becoming available to the research community for use at the bench and in the clinic. As a result, the TARGET Pan-cancer Model Systems (MDLS) were developed to study the mechanisms of tumor development and response to treatments of high-risk or hard-to-treat childhood cancers.
In the TARGET initiative, some disease projects characterized tumor cell lines or xenografts, with or without matched normal comparators, as well as some non-cancerous tissues from the same organ. TARGET and other programs added value to the cell lines and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models by sequencing their DNA and/or RNA. These reagents are available for in vitro validation experiments, and their molecular characteristics are available through the TARGET Data Matrix.
MDLS includes acute leukemia cell lines and xenografts with matched primary and/or relapsed tumor information, neuroblastoma cell lines and xenografts with matched controls, kidney tumor cell lines, normal brain tissues, and embryonic stem cell lines that were sequenced for some TARGET disease projects. Additionally, TARGET has provided whole exome sequencing for 131 cell lines and xenografts from the NCI’s Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program; many of these have associated expression and copy number data available through the TARGET Data Matrix as well.