St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital today announced the availability of one of the world’s largest collections of leukemia samples from children and adults.
The effort, called PROPEL (Public Resource of Patient-derived and Expanded Leukemias), aims to advance fundamental research on the biology of leukemia and to help develop cures by sharing unique patient-derived xenograft samples with researchers around the world. PROPEL samples are available free of charge to researchers with no obligation to collaborate, which is unique in the leukemia community. The initiative is the latest effort by St. Jude to advance cures by sharing extensive data samples with the global scientific community.
Leukemias are a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children and adults. Despite a 90 percent overall cure rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in pediatric patients, cure rates are lower for patients with acute myeloid leukemia and other forms of the disease. Survival rates for adults with acute leukemias are worse. Treatment often leaves survivors with lingering, treatment-related health problems.
“Despite therapeutic advances and improved outcomes, we must make progress to cure leukemia and minimize the side effects of treatment for survivors,” said Charles Mullighan, M.B.B.S., M.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Pathology and primary investigator for creating PROPEL. “By making xenograft data available to the research community on PROPEL, we hope to accelerate discovery and cures for leukemia and improve long-term outcomes for survivors.”
The PROPEL data portal provides access to 219 samples of human leukemias. With the consent of patients and parents, these cancers were grown in mice and are known as patient-derived xenografts. Researchers can submit a request to access the samples and associated genetic data for xenografts and primary tumors.
The xenografts were derived from patients with diverse subtypes of B- and T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute erythroid leukemia, and mixed-phenotype acute leukemia. The PROPEL inventory will grow as additional leukemia subtypes and cases of acute leukemia, including acute myeloid leukemia, become available. The data is unique because it provides side-by-side characterization of the xenografts and the corresponding patient samples.