MD Anderson, Broad Institute launch rare cancer research platform

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Cambridge, Mass.-based Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard are aiming to accelerate novel therapeutics for rare cancers by generating a catalog of more than 100 rare cancer models, the organizations announced May 11. 

As part of the effort, researchers from the Broad Institute's Cancer Cell Line Factory will generate rare tumor models from MD Anderson patients. Once generated, researchers will analyze the models to identify molecular signatures that could help inform novel treatments for patients with rare tumors. 

The resource would be the first-of-its kind available to the cancer research community, according to a news release.  

"Treatments for rare cancers have lagged behind common tumors in large part because we as a community lack the tools to study and understand their unique biology in the laboratory," said William Sellers, MD, director of the Broad Institute's cancer program. "This initiative represents a significant opportunity to close that gap and to start identifying new treatment options for patients with rare cancers."

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