Atlas of cancer cell drug sensitivity launched

30.03.2012 - 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.


24.11.2015 After weeks of speculation it is official: US pharma major Pfizer and Irish Botox maker Allergan will merge. With the deal, Pfizer is planning to dodge the high US taxes, causing indignation among US politicians.


23.11.2015 Amidst talk of the IPO window closing and cancelled flotations, diagnostics firms are still striking a chord with investors. Swedish Immunovia and German Curetis are successfully raising public money.


20.11.2015 French Sanofi and British AstraZeneca are giving open innovation a go: The two pharma giants will exchange thousands of compounds – for free.


19.11.2015 French gene editing company Cellectis has granted Servier the rights to bring cancer immunotherapy UCART19 to market. Servier in turn has teamed up with Pfizer to hurry development along.


17.11.2015 The first Italian accelerator specifically for biotech projects has been launched with help from Sofinnova Partners. The plan of BiovelocITA: to help Italy grow into one of Europe’s strongest biotech markets.


13.11.2015 Scientists in Bath, UK, have developed a medical dressing that turns fluorescent green when it detects infection. The researchers hope that the smart burns dressing will help fight antibiotic resistance.


13.11.2015 Out with the old: Roche is discarding four sites with 1,200 staff in an effort to restructure its manufacturing network for small molecules. Instead, a new manufacturing site will be built in Switzerland.


10.11.2015 Algae have many skills, but cancer fighting was not one of them – until now. Researchers from Australia and Germany have genetically engineered diatom algae to accurately deliver chemotherapeutic drugs.


10.11.2015 AstraZeneca has plucked Californian biopharma company ZS Pharma from under Actelion’s nose. The UK company is paying US$2.7bn (€2.5bn) to acquire ZS and its promising hyperkalaemia treatment currently under US regulatory review.


04.11.2015 What biotech stock market slump? Despite all odds, 2015 is set to become a new record year for the European public biotech sector, according to a BIOCOM-study presented at BIO Europe in Munich.


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