Press Release October 16, 2017

JAX, Seven Bridges to build centralized cancer research data platform

 JAX SevenBridges Chuang grant

The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), a nonprofit biomedical research institution, and Seven Bridges, the leading biomedical data analysis company, today announced a new collaboration to build an NCI-funded data platform to accelerate translational research using patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDX) datasets. This joint initiative will establish a PDX Data Commons and Coordinating Center to support PDXNet, a collaborative network that coordinates large-scale testing for preclinical therapeutic cancer drugs in PDX trials.

In PDX trials, tumor models are created using fragments of a patient’s tumor that can be propagated in mice to supply test tissue that can be used for research. Researchers can use the models to test multiple drugs, alone and/or in various combinations, and glean insight into drug responses, providing a clinical trial roadmap for piloting treatments for patients with tumors of similar molecular profiles.

The PDX approach has gained significant traction in the cancer research community due to its increased precision in measuring drug-response. In 2016, the NCI decided to refocus its repository of cancer models, which has long been dominated by the NCI60 panel of human cancer cell lines, to include PDX models for cancer drug screening.

“Xenografts are powerful models for assessing the drug efficacy of anti-cancer agents and understanding the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance,” says JAX Associate Professor Jeffrey Chuang, Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the grant. “However, the results from individual research groups have been difficult to validate due to the lack of standardized PDX procedures, lack of scale, and the challenges in sharing PDX specimens and data.

The PDX Data Commons and Coordination Center will solve these challenges by using innovative cloud computing and bioinformatic approaches to organize the analysis of new PDX studies being led by scientists at multiple institutes including Washington University, the University of Utah, Baylor College of Medicine, MD Anderson, The Wistar Institute, and the National Cancer Institute.  Both JAX and Seven Bridges will coordinate training activities and research pilots and solicit project ideas from the wider research community to facilitate the development of clinical trials, bioinformatic workflows, and data harmonization for PDX studies.

“Translational cancer research generates vast amounts of data that need to be stored and analyzed, and PDX trials represent one of the best preclinical platforms we have to realize the potential presented by precision oncology,” said Brandi Davis-Dusenbery, Ph.D., CEO, Seven Bridges, co- principal investigator of the grant. “Making this data easily accessible to researchers is imperative to improving outcomes for cancer patients.”

The project will also build interoperability between PDXNet datasets and other large-scale NCI datasets, such as  The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET), and The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA), already made available via the Seven Bridges Cancer Genomic Cloud. The ability to access and analyze PDXNet data together with these valuable large-scale cancer datasets will amplify researchers’ ability to advance basic discoveries with more focused PDX preclinical trial data, which increases the potential for precision medicine breakthroughs in the fight against cancer.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs 2,000 staff, and its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.


Seven Bridges is the biomedical data analysis company accelerating breakthroughs in genomics research for cancer, drug development, and precision medicine. Thousands of researchers in government, biotech, pharmaceutical, and academic labs use Seven Bridges, including global pharmaceutical companies and national genomics projects such as the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Genomics Cloud pilot, the Million Veteran Program, and Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project.

Research newsletters

Learn about the latest research breakthroughs in the fight against Alzheimer’s, cancer and other devastating diseases.