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Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center

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Patient-Derived Tumor Xenograft (PDTX)

Cancer cures cannot come about without a way to test them. Early discoveries were made using cell lines grown in petri dishes. Later, these in vitro human cells were transplanted into mice for in vivo observation and testing. 

Patient-Derived Tumor Xenografts (PDTX) take these tools to the next level. 

Established from the transplantation of a fresh human tumor specimen from a cancer patient directly into a mouse, PDTX models preserve key features of a specific cancer such as invasiveness, desmoplastic reaction, tumor vasculature and cellular diversity. They more closely resemble human cancer and are easier to reproduce -- qualities that have led several institutions and health networks to create repositories of clinically-annotated cancer models derived from primary patient samples. The National Cancer Institute announced it is retiring its panel of 60 human cancer cell lines grown in culture from its drug screening program in favor of PDXs, fibroblasts and circulating tumor cells, and is launching Patient Derived Xenograft Development and Trial Centers (PDTCs) and Data networks.


mage of patient-derived tumor xenograft processPatient-derived tumor xenograft process; credit: Samuel Constant, Song Huang, Ludovic Wiszniewski & Christophe Mas

The Meyer Cancer Center established a PDTX laboratory in 2014, with the objective to generate ad hoc models from cancer patients enrolled in our clinical programs or followed by our clinical oncologists. This repository of cancer cell models is also used by cancer center researchers to probe the mechanisms of cancer, advance drug discovery, test new anti-cancer compounds, and create innovative therapeutic strategies personalized to each patient.

The lab features several units, including a "surgical suite" with an MRI machine and metabolic profiling technology to rapidly measure responses to therapies, which can be key for applications in the clinical setting. 

Led by hematopathologist Giorgio Inghirami, M.D., it is one of the only sites in the United States to feature PDTX models for T-cell lymphoma, and specializes in several other lymphoid malignancies.

Our institutional expertise in stem cell research and bone marrow transplantation also provides unique opportunities. 

The Meyer Cancer Center PDTX program is also on the forefront in the generation of new models for genomic and pre-clinical functional studies and drug discovery programs, including organoids and tumoroid-based cultures.

  • In partnership with Houston Methodist, the Meyer Cancer Center program is able to provide access to more than 650 PDTX models across many tumor types. 
  • Weill Cornell Medicine is also a member of the EuroPDX Consortium, enabling access for cancer center members to an additional 1,800 models. 
  • Additional models may be available via PRoXe, the Public Repository of Xenografts. 

3D slices MRI images of PDX mouse implanted with a tumor Key Services

  • development of PDX models
  • advanced tumor monitoring and imaging
  • preclinical drug efficacy studies
  • tissue collection, preservation and banking
  • in vivo data management and analysis

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If research supported by this core facility results in publication, please acknowledge this support by including the following in your publication(s):
"We thank the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. NY, for the use of the Patient-Derived Tumor Xunograft (PDTX) Core, which provided __________ service."

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Brian Kelly, Ph.D., CLP
Director, Technology Licensing - WCM Office
Center for Technology Licensing at Cornell University (CTL)