Lausanne Branch Hosts LICR Melanoma Initiative Workshop
Bob Strausberg, Gary Hon, Armand Valsesia, Brian Stevenson, Xin Lu, Andreas Behrens, Sylvie Devalle, Andy Simpson, Donata Rimoldi, Nicolas van Baren, Benoit van den Eynde, Otavia Caballero, Jonathan Skipper, Olivier Michielin, Colin Goding, Jonathan Cebon, Suzanne Schlisio
The theme of the meeting was that heterogeneity at the cellular level presents one of the major barriers to melanoma therapy. The two-day program was designed to inform the participants of the projects and resources available within the Institute, as well as promote maximum discussion. A session at the end of the meeting was reserved to designing a roadmap for a collaborative initiative that would lead the way towards new therapeutic opportunities. The meeting was successful in identifying common research themes and catalyzing new collaborations between several groups. In addition, the groups offered to share the resources they have established over the past several years. The Lausanne Branch has generated a large collection of melanoma cell lines and a collection of normal blood samples and frozen tumors (melanoma metastases). The Brussels Branch has, in parallel with the clinical trials program, collected and frozen tumor material from melanoma patients. Its bank currently hosts frozen melanoma samples (metastases), frozen small punch biopsies of primary melanomas as well as melanoma cell lines. The Melbourne-Austin Branch has established well-characterized melanoma cell lines from metastatic tumors. For most of these lines genomic DNA, RNA, protein lysate and cell blocks for IHC are accessible. There is also a large collection of fresh-frozen samples with paired paraffin embedded tumors, the majority of which are metastases. Detailed clinical annotation including demographics and clinical outcomes has been captured for all patients in a comprehensive clinical database.
Together these sample collections represent a highly valuable resource for collaborative projects. Given these resources and the scientific interests of the research teams, it was proposed to establish a Ludwig Melanoma Initiative database of all cell lines and clinical samples that are available, as well as share information on ongoing clinical trials. Data generated by the different participants, including the genome sequencing, transcriptomics and epigenomic data generated will also be made available.
In summary, this was a highly interactive meeting that provided the opportunity for scientific dialog among Ludwig scientists. Several collaborations were established and further discussions are now underway to develop a roadmap to facilitate the Ludwig-wide melanoma research effort.