The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Rare Cancer Research Foundation (RCRF) have launched a collaboration to accelerate the development of new treatments for rare cancers. The initiative aims to empower patients in the United States to donate tumor samples directly to MD Anderson for translational research efforts, which will overcome the lack of available samples in rare cancer research.
The RCRF will use its Pattern.org online engagement platform to enable patients to donate their tumor biopsies and surgical samples for research purposes. With these samples, MD Anderson researchers will perform comprehensive analyses and will work to develop laboratory models that can be used to pursue new therapeutic strategies for rare cancers. The initiative aims to fully characterize more than 60 rare cancer samples and develop 20 laboratory models, which will be made available to the research community worldwide.
Rare cancers represent roughly 25% of all cancer cases and are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, and the RCRF is committed to advancing research for these cancer types through strategic investments and innovative collaborations. MD Anderson established its Rare Tumor Initiative in 2019 to comprehensively characterize rare tumors, and in 2021, it launched a translational research platform with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to create a catalog of rare cancer models and provide a data resource for researchers in the field. The current collaboration will integrate with these efforts to further accelerate the pace of research and generate much-needed therapeutic insights.