YOU Can Help Accelerate ROS1 Research!

DONATE YOUR CANCER SPECIMENS!  If you think you might have a medically necessary biopsy, pleural fluid draining, or cancer surgery in your future, please consider donating your excess tumor tissue or fluid to the ROS1 Cancer Model Project. Contact for more information.


What’s a cancer model and why do we need them?

Cancer models allow us to study cancer outside the human body. One type consists of immortalized human cancer cells in a lab dish—like the HeLa cells in “Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks“—called cell lines.  Another consists of human cancer cells growing under the skin of a mouse–called a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse.

Cancer researchers use these models to examine ROS1 biology and drug resistance, develop new biomarker tests, and find new treatment options. In early 2017, only a few ROS1 fusion positive cell lines and one ROS1 fusion positive PDX model existed. This was a problem, since ROS1 can fuse with over 20 other genes, and is found in over 12 different cancers. Also, none of the models were from tumors that had developed resistance to crizotinib or other ROS1 drugs.

What is the ROS1 Cancer Model Project?

To make cancer models, we need live cancer cells donated by patients. The ROS1 Cancer Model Project is making that happen.

Here’s how it works. ROS1 patients who have an upcoming biopsy, surgery, or thoracentesis arrange in advance to donate their excess fresh tumor tissue and pleural fluid to the Doebele Lab at University of Colorado to create cell lines. The models are analyzed, then shared freely with academic ROS1 researchers to accelerate research into our disease.  

Our tissue and pleural fluid donations and funding for analysis have helped to create NINE ROS1 cell lines, which has more than doubled the number of ROS1 cell lines available for research. 

What happens to cancer models created from ROS1der donations? 

The ROS1 cell lines created by this project are shared freely (for the cost of shipping) with academic researchers to accelerate research.  To date, they have been shared with five other institutions:

They are also available for a fee to pharmaceutical firms and industry.  We are exploring the possibility of posting the results of cell line analysis with the NCI’s Genomic Data Commons to make more information available to researchers who use our cell lines.

The cell lines have also been used in published studies of ROS1 biology, resistance mechanisms, and biomarker testing:

Who is involved in the ROS1 Cancer Model Project?

The initial project was developed as a partnership involving The ROS1ders, The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (now the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer), and Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI). Cell lines were attempted in the Doebele lab at University of Colorado, and PDX mouse models were attempted at Champions Oncology together with Vanderbilt University.

The PDX Mouse Model project was not able to create models successfully (an issue at many academic labs), and has since been terminated. The cell line project is continuing.