The Chordoma Foundation is one of main organisations continuing to push the boundaries concerning paediatric chordoma research. Consequently, the Drew Barker-Wright Charity felt it was important to continue with its financial support, and for 2021 have contributed £15,000 towards the ongoing projects currently taking place in the US.
Recent progress in research includes:
Model characterisation: In October, the CF’S newest paediatric chordoma mouse model, derived from a metastatic tumour, was validated. It is now available to research partners, and CF have begun to include it in their drug screening efforts. In addition, four new paediatric chordoma cell lines are now available for research; two of them were derived from successive tumour recurrences from the same patient, and thus provide a “progression model” that facilitates studies of chordoma evolution and disease progression. In addition, to optimise future drug screening studies, the CF recently initiated whole-exome DNA sequencing of their cell and mouse models derived from paediatric chordoma patients to better understand which genetic mutations drive each model. The results are expected to enable more sophisticated, molecularly-guided drug testing of therapeutic hypotheses that rely on the presence or absence of specific mutations.
Drug screening in paediatric models: This year the marked the launch of CF Labs: the first lab 100% dedicated to chordoma research. CF Labs is already enabling specialists to quickly pursue critical experiments, empowering their research partners to efficiently answer questions, and filling gaps that currently exist in the capabilities of academics and companies. CF Labs will serve to significantly speed research to translate insights about chordoma biology into new treatment options. The paediatric models that DBW Charity has helped the CF develop and characterise will ensure that paediatric chordoma patients stand to benefit. Several new concepts — drugs and combinations — have recently shown promise against chordoma tumours in paediatric mouse models. The CF is currently continuing to generate the preclinical data packages and foster company collaborations needed to move these concepts toward clinical trials.