Charles River drills down to offer PDXs with new molecular features

Charles River has updated its collection of patient-derived xenografts with information on whole-exome mutations, gene copy number variations and gene expression.

Charles River Laboratories has beefed up its library of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) by adding new molecular characteristics into the mix.

The CRO has more than 450 fully characterized, proprietary PDXs, spanning all major types of tumors, and has now updated the collection with information on whole-exome mutations, gene copy number variations and gene expression.

In early oncology drug development, PDX cancer models are recognized as more advanced than traditional cancer cell lines because they culture patient tumor samples without significantly transforming their genetic features over generations.

It is a model that more closely mirrors human microenvironments and can therefore be more beneficial for studying and developing cancer therapies, said Birgit Girshick, corporate SVP of global discovery at the Massachusetts CRO, in a release.

To make full use of its PDX compendium, Charles River reached a strategic partnership with OcellO last November. Under that deal, the Dutch CRO uses its 3D cell culture drug-screening platform—a drug-profiling technology it is known for—on Charles River’s PDXs.

This high-throughput screening method can evaluate lead compounds in panels of PDX tumors in vitro and help identify optimum tumor models with the most appropriate mutational profiles for in vivo studies, said Leo Price, CEO and founder of OcellO, in the release. By using the same tumor material in vitro and in vivo, researchers can save time and increase in vivo success rates.

Charles River gained most of the PDX models when it acquired Germany-based CRO Oncotest in late 2015. Last month, the Massachusetts-based CRO launched in North America its first CRISPR-generated immunodeficient mouse model known as the NCG model, which was co-developed with Nanjing University and Nanjing Galaxy Biopharma in China. Like other triple-immunodeficient models, NCG can host xenograft cells, tissue and human immune system components for immuno-oncology studies.