Current research in my group focuses on further understanding the biology of lung, especially non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), through the establishment and molecular dissection of tumour models grown directly from patient tumours. These tumour models are established as patient-derived xenograft (PDX) in immune-deficient mice or as patient-derived organoid (PDO) in tissue culture dishes. We have demonstrated that the ability of a patient tumour to grow as PDX is associated with poorer prognosis for the patient and thus reflects aggressive cancer biology. In fact, this is consistent with higher success rates to establish PDX from tumours obtained (biopsied) from advanced-stage or metastatic patients. We have also reported that both PDX and PDO models mimic the pathological and molecular features of patient tumours used to establish them. We are presently using these models and the technologies to study genes, protein and cellular processes that determine or influence: (1) the metastatic behaviour of NSCLC, (2) resistance to specific therapy, and (3) small subpopulation of tumour cells that evade killing during treatment with highly effective therapies.
Ming-Sound Tsao, MD, FRCPC
Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre