The Broad Institute has published the first volume of its Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia, a database of cancer knowledge that senior Broad researcher Levi Garraway calls "a preclinical resource that could guide clinical trials," in a press release from the institute. The CCLE — which Broad developed and recently published in Nature in collaboration with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Foundation, and the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research — is a publicly available resource . "The CCLE integrates gene expression, chromosomal copy number, and massively parallel sequencing data from almost 1,000 human cancer cell lines together with pharmacological profiles for 24 anticancer drugs across roughly half of these cell lines," the Broad says. "The scale of the project allows greater depth of genetic characterization and pharmacological annotation than previously possible with fewer cell lines." Broad's Todd Golub says that the CCLE will "catalyze discoveries throughout the cancer research community," the press release adds.
Though there is optimism about what the CCLE will mean for cancer research, Nature Medicine's Spoonful of Medicine blog sounded a note of caution. The CCLE will allow researchers to identify and test cell lines with mutations like those found in specific patients, says the blog's Rebecca Hersher. But some experts say the cell-line data cannot replace testing in animal models. Validation models are always a necessity, MD Anderson Cancer Center's Lee Ellis tells Hersher. Cell line data is a first step, he adds, but it isn't the only testing needed to bring a drug into the clinic.
Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on the CCLE.