Timeframe: 2010 – 2011
Goal: Develop useful disease models to support subsequent research efforts
Principal Investigator: Yuzhou Wang, PhD
Study overview: Availability of model system to replicate the disease is an essential tool in development of therapeutics. These model systems can be used by researchers for mechanistic investigations, rapid drug screening, and many other purposes. Model systems such as primary cancer cell lines originate from tissue resected during biopsies and surgeries, or ascites fluid from metastasized cells. Similarly, patient-derived xenografts are models of cancer where the tissue or cells from a patient’s tumor are implanted into immunodeficient mice.
The goal of this study was to:
- Establish a FLC cell line from patient tissue samples
- Establish a patient derived xenograft for drug screening studies
- Characterize the microRNA population in FLC once a model was established.
Results: During the study, investigators attempted to establish a cell line from ascites fluid from a FLC patient. They were able to culture the fibrolamellar cells for several growth passages and demonstrated that the cells could be frozen for long term storage. Upon thawing of the frozen cells, viable cell cultures were generated that could be used for various experiments.
Using proprietary procedures, the lab had previously created person-to-mouse xenografts from various tumor tissues (other than FLC) with a high success rate. They attempted to apply these same techniques to FLC tissue samples. Unfortunately, their attempts to develop a fibrolamellar PDX model were unsuccessful.
Implications: While the lab’s efforts to create FLC models were unsuccessful, additional efforts have been sponsored to develop such important research tools.
Note: This study was one of four “Freedom of Pursuit” research awards to be distributed under the joint FCF/ICARE program active in 2010/2011. The use of those funds was unrestricted. Initially, the hope was that the Wang lab would use some of the funds to pursue microRNA research on FLC. However, those efforts remained focused on prostate cancer. FCF/ICARE’s support of microRNA research was acknowledged in a 2011 paper about prostate cancer.
Since the conclusion of the ICARE effort, no grants issued by FCF have been unrestricted in their use.