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St. Jude scientist to lead NCI Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program

of Los Angeles (Patrick Reynolds), and Children's Cancer Institute Australia (Richard Lock).

The PPTP builds upon Houghton's research by demonstrating the ability of preclinical testing using rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroblastoma xenografts to predict for activity of new agents in children with these cancers. The program will attempt to extend these observations to other childhood cancer types and to a broader spectrum of anticancer agents.

The PPTP will test anticancer agents against panels of preclinical models of the most common childhood cancers. The in vivo testing panels will primarily use childhood cancer xenograft lines, with genetically engineered models used when these are available and relevant to the agent being tested. The PPTP will use in vivo test panels for neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, renal tumors (Wilms and rhabdoid), embryonal brain tumors and glial brain tumors. Each in vivo panel will consist of four-eight xenograft lines. The in vitro panel will represent a similar range of childhood cancers and will include 20-25 cell lines. Each of the xenograft and cell lines used in the PPTP will undergo extensive molecular characterization. Gene expression profiles for the lines will be available using both cDNA arrays (performed by Javed Khan, NCI) and Affymetrix arrays (performed at St. Jude). Tissue arrays are being prepared that include each of the program's xenograft lines, and these will allow immunohistochemical determination of the expression of proteins relevant to molecularly targeted new agent testing.

New agents will be tested, when feasible, near the time that they are entering evaluation in adults with cancer and before their possible initial evaluation in children. Several standard chemotherapy agents will also be tested in parallel in order to calibrate the PPTP tumor panels using agents of known clinical activity for specific tumor ty
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Contact: Bonnie Cameron
bonnie.cameron@stjude.org
901-495-4815
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
9-Nov-2004


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