Lung cancer is the top leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, and is it usually diagnosed in advanced stages. The most common type of lung cancer, about 80%, is non small cell lung cancer. 1-2% of non-small cell lung cancers have the presence of a fusion in the ROS1 gene. These cancers, called ROS1 positive (ROS1+), tend to be very aggressive, and they can spread to the bones and brain.

ROS1+ cancer is rare, hard to treat, and patients tend to be younger than average for lung cancer patients. ROS1+ cancer has also been found in glioblastoma, angiosarcoma, melanoma, choloangiosarcoma, as well as colorectal, gastric, and ovarian cancers.

Limited Treatment Options
There are very limited options when treating this disease. Currently, treatment with crizotinib, which is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), or chemotherapy, is used for ROS1+ cancers. The TKI is usually a better option than chemotherapy for this patient group, as it is effective in 70-80% of patients, vs only 20% with chemotherapy.

However, for most of the patients that receive treatment for ROS1+ cancer, the cancer comes back after a few years. By then, the cancer will have developed resistance to the TKI. For patients whose cancer comes back after use of this TKI, or for those who were not affected to begin with, there are no further approved options at present. Crizotinib also does not treat the cancer if it metastasizes to the brain.

For this reason, TKIs are not curative; rather, they only inhibit cancer for many patients. There is clearly an urgent and unmet need for more treatment options in patients with an ROS1+ cancer.

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Recently, the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute, Champions? Oncology, and the ROS1ders, announced a research collaboration and the launch of a preclinical study that will develop new models of ROS+ cancers. This study is part of the Global ROS1 Research Initiative, with strives to improve survivals for this rare yet clinically important cancer type. The Global ROS1 Research Initiative plans to gather research material from ROS1+ patients everywhere, in order to generate a clinical research project from patients who are geographically dispersed.

The ALCMI-006 study, in which the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute collaborated with the ROS1ders, will generate cancer models from tumor tissues gathered from ROS1der patients after their biopsies and surgeries. Champions Oncology will contribute in this study by providing their extensive experience in creating patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models.

This study, the first of its kind, hopes to create a collection of ROS1+ cancer models through the use of these PDX mouse models and cell lines, along with genomic sequences and patient medical history.

The ROS1ders, Addario Medical Institute and Champions Oncology?
The ROS1ders, ?a group of over 180 patients and caregivers worldwide, who are focused on driving collaboration between researchers, advocacy organizations, and industry leaders, in order to improve treatments and advance research in ROS1+ cancers. ?The Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute, a partner with the Addario Lung Cancer foundation, is an international research consortium that focuses on the genetic testing, therapeutic discoveries, targeted treatment and early detection in lung cancer.

Champions Oncology ?focuses on the advancement on technology and services aimed to personalize oncology medicine, and they have a technology platform that uses a novel approach to preserving the biological characteristics of the original human tumor after implantation in a mouse. Champions has research labs strategically located throughout the US, UK, Israel and South Korea. ?Champions and ALCMI are combining their respective infrastructure, expertise and scientific commitment to build PDX models in this rare subtype of cancer and make those models available to academic and industry researchers,? said Angela M. Davies, MD, chief medical officer, Champions Oncology.

?This PDX resource will facilitate development of new therapies and understanding mechanisms of resistance in ROS1 cancers,? Davis added

This collaboration between the ROS1ders, the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute, and Champions Oncology, is a powerful a strategic partnering that is sure to make an impact in this hard to treat, urgent disease area.

Last editorial review: August 25, 2017

Featured Image: Lung Cancer. Courtesy: ? 2017 Fotolia . Used with permission.

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