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2014 Archived Content

Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Second Annual

Predictive Preclinical Models in Oncology

Delivering Reproducible and Predictive Research Results

February 10-12, 2014 | Moscone North Convention Center | San Francisco, CA


The selection of appropriate animal models based on similarity to human biology carries considerable potential to ensure a higher predictability of preclinical results. Innovative ex vivo models are equally important for minimizing the odds of preclinical errors. This conference is designed to highlight the cutting edge in vitro and in vivo preclinical models that allow researchers to more effectively evaluate novel cancer therapeutics, as well as to identify predictive biomarkers in early stages of drug development. Case studies and solutions for increasing the predictability of preclinical cancer studies will be presented.

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Monday, February 10

10:30 am Conference Program Registration


11:50 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Neal Goodwin, Ph.D., Vice President, Corporate Research Development, Champions Oncology, Inc.


 12:00 pm Modeling Efficacy and Resistance of Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitors in CancerFrederic de Sauvage, Ph.D., Vice President, Molecular Oncology, Genentech Hh Pathway Inhibitors have shown strong activity in cancers driven by Hh pathway mutations but have so far failed to demonstrate benefit in tumors where the pathway is activated through Hh ligand overexpression. Mouse models of cancers provide valuable tools to study the preclinical activity of Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitors and characterize potential mechanisms of innate or acquired resistance.  

12:30 Bridging Tumor Genomics to Therapeutics  through Patient Derived Xenografts (PDXs)

David Gandara, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of California, Davis School of Medicine; Director, Thoracic Oncology Program, Senior Advisor to the Director, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center; Chair, Lung Committee, Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG)

1:00 Session Break

1:15 Luncheon Presentation I: The ‘Innovation Universe’ at Oncotest

Julia Schüler, D.V.M., Ph.D., Head, Tumor Biology, Oncotest GmbH

Oncotest, a leading CRO in preclinical profiling of anti-cancer agents, has a wide range of R&D projects: Expanding our panel of PDXs, high-content/high-throughput ex-vivo assays and advanced xenograft models. These projects are often supported by collaborations with clinicians, academics and pharma partners.

1:45 Luncheon Presentation II: Towards Greater Predictive Power in Preclinical Models: General Principles, Model Formats, and Imaging Applications

W.R. Leopold, Ph.D., Vice President, Oncology, Molecular Imaging, Inc.

Recent advances in model formats and imaging technologies have created new opportunities to improve the predictive power of preclinical in vivo drug discovery studies.  Models are more biologically and mechanistically relevant, allowing for superior reflection of the clinical realities faced during treatment.  Imaging technologies can greatly facilitate the use of these more clinically realistic, though difficult model formats, to improve efficiency and predictive power. 

 2:15 Session Break 


2:30 Chairperson’s Remarks
Jean-François Mirjolet, Ph.D., Technology Director, Oncodesign 

2:35 Microenvironmental Regulation of GBM Progression and Therapeutic Resistance

Gabriele Bergers, Ph.D., Professor of Neurological Surgery, Neill H. and Linda S. Brownstein Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research, Principal Investigator, Brain Tumor Research Center, University of California, San Francisco

3:05 Resistance to MAPK Pathway Inhibitors in Melanoma: Insights and Future Challenges

Jessie Villanueva, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Molecular & Cellular Oncogenesis Program, Melanoma Research Center, The Wistar Institute

The MAPK pathway is a key therapeutic target for melanoma as it is activated in most tumors. Despite the clinical success of drugs targeting this pathway, their therapeutic efficacy is limited by the development of drug resistance. To develop effective therapies for melanoma, it is critical to uncover the mechanisms of resistance to BRAF and MEK inhibitors. Recent studies on the molecular mechanisms of resistance to inhibitors of the MAPK pathway and potential strategies to overcome resistance will be discussed.

3:35 PREDECT in Europe: Goals and OutcomesRalph Graeser, Ph.D., Associate Director, Janssen Pharmaceutica NVPREDECT is an IMI-funded partnership between 9 academic, 3 SME and 9 EU pharmaceutical company partners, developing advanced, transferable in vitro models for breast, prostate and lung cancers.

 4:05 Tumorgraft Avatar Platform for Clinical Advancement 

Neal Goodwin, Ph.D., Vice President, Corporate Research Development, Champions Oncology, Inc.

A patient-derived xenograft (TumorGraft) platform has been established where patient tumors are engrafted to form mouse-avatar TumorGraft models for translational and clinical studies. Therapeutic treatment responses in these mouse avatars are being used prospectively to guide patient treatment and the avatar-directed treatment outcomes correlated with patient treatment outcomes.  

4:35 Using Populations of Targeted PDX Models to Support Preclinical Trials of Oncology Therapeutics

Thomas B. Broudy, Ph.D., CSO, Molecular Response

The depth of the Molecular Response tumor bank (144k specimens, 76 diagnoses) enables broad-based PDX studies in patient populations meeting specific criteria, such as: mutational status, failed therapy or metastatic lesions.  By approximating the clinical setting in a preclinical context, we help partners establish confident developmental approaches across oncology programs.

4:50 Refreshment Break and Transition to Plenary Keynote

5:00 Plenary Keynote Session (Click Here For More Details) 

6:15 Grand Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

7:45 Close of Day

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