Atlas of cancer cell drug sensitivity launched
Basel/Hinxton (UK) – Two European teams have created huge repositories of cancer genomics data that help predict drug response. Swiss Novartis and the Boston-based Broad Institute have combined data obtained from large-scale sequencing data of 947 of the 1,200 commercially available human cancer cell lines with the pharmacological profiles of 24 anti-cancer drugs. (Nature 29 March) in a „Cancer Cell Line Encyclopaedia (CCLE)". The cell lines reflect the genetic disturbances that drive cancers,“ said Mark Fishman, Chief of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) that led the study. „Probing cell lines with medicines targeted at specific pathways, as done for the CCLE, provides a powerful tool for design of cancer treatment.“ The data, put into the public domain, will help improve developing targeted therapies. The CCLE provides gene expression data, information on copy number changes as well as DNA sequence variations in about 1,600 cancer-related genes. Additionally, algorithms have been developed to predict drug responses based on the cancer cell’s molecular make-up. When a personal genome is matched against these data an optimised therapy can be obtained for this patient. In a second study, European researchers from the cancer genome project teamed (coordination EBI, Hinxton) up with US doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital to uncover genetic biomarkers of cancer cells’ drug sensitivity against 130 compounds under clinical and preclinical development (Nature 29.3.). The study was carried out analysing 630 human tumour cell lines representing cancers of epthelial, mesenchymal and hematopoetic origin. The identified cancer subtypes and drug response profiles have been put to the public domain to help researchers engaged in the development of personalised cancer treatments.