Enhancing xenograft use in oncology research

Novel technology from Taconic and Cellaria collaboration could better generate cells from patient-derived tumors

Lloyd Dunlap
HUDSON, N.Y.—Taconic Biosciences and Cellaria Biosciences have entered into a scientific collaboration designed to improve the utility of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) in animal models for oncology and immuno-oncology research. Cellaria’s novel methodologies for generating cells from patient tumors will complement Taconic’s industry-leading portfolio of tissue humanized mouse models, which are said to be well suited as hosts for PDXs.
 
The value of using patient-derived tumors in oncology and immuno-oncology research has been well documented, but traditional methods of obtaining tumor cell material have proven labor-intensive and expensive, inhibiting researchers’ access to this material. Cellaria’s innovative approach to propagating tumor cell material and generating PDX banks significantly reduces the associated labor and costs, making patient-derived tumor models more accessible to investigators.
 
“Cellaria contacted us and expressed interest in our humanized mouse models,” states Todd Little, president of corporate development at Taconic. The research uses patient-derived xenographs and puts them into Taconic mouse models that have been modified to express human immune systems.
 
When asked about the status of immuno-oncology research, Little sums it up in one word: “Exploding.” Taconic, he notes, presented “pivotal clinical data” covering its work to date at AACR 2015. “Our scientific collaboration with Cellaria is a prime example of Taconic continually pushing the boundaries of technology to improve the utility of humanized animal models in biomedical research,” Little says. “By collaborating with a company that has achieved great success in generating cell lines from patient-derived tumors, Taconic will be able to deliver more predictive tissue humanized models that will improve and accelerate oncology research and drug discovery.”
 
Cellaria’s advanced technology facilitates the creation of PDX banks in a more controlled manner, supports more effective tumor engraftments on study animals and enables harvesting sufficient tumor material for use in long-term and repeat studies. The companies’ initial collaborations will focus on the creation of breast cancer cell lines from PDX models for which Taconic holds licenses from the University of Utah.
 
“Experiments are underway,” Little noted in his interview with DDNews in late April. “In the next three to four weeks, we should be engrafting with tumors and have data on antigen expression levels in three to four months.”
 
“Taconic and Cellaria have a shared goal to create relevant tools for cancer,” according to David Deems, CEO of Cellaria. “The new models created through this collaboration have enormous potential to better define target patient populations and evaluate the efficacy of new therapies.”
 
Over the last century, the mouse has become the standard model organism of choice in academic laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry. The biological differences between mice and humans has been a limiting factor in the translation of many discoveries to the clinical setting. The creation and use of super immunodeficient mouse models that have been “humanized” by engraftment with cells and tissues of human origin is becoming a preferred solution.
 
Taconic Biosciences is a global provider of genetically engineered rodent models and services. Founded in 1952, Taconic helps the biotechnology and pharmaceutical communities acquire, custom generate, breed, precondition, test and distribute highly relevant research models worldwide. Taconic operates three service laboratories and six breeding facilities in the United States and Europe and maintains distributor relationships in Asia.
 
Cellaria Biosciences offers preclinical models to better represent tumor-host interactions and accelerate oncology drug discovery and development. This technology greatly simplifies the creation of cell lines and improves the representation of tumors in target patient populations to better capture their genetic and epigenetic diversity. In addition to the Cellaria Cell Line Bank and Renaissance Essential Tumor Media, the company provides expert services for the derivation of high-quality, well-characterized custom cell lines from sourced tissue and develops custom assays using their 3D and in-vivo models for drug discovery and development.

Lloyd Dunlap

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